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Aggie Analysis: Defense Makes A Statement

The Aggies show defensive improvement in win over the Aztecs

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 21 Utah State at San Diego State Photo by Alan Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After a bye week to tune up, Utah State headed to Southern California to take on San Diego State in their conference opener. The Aggies didn’t lose a beat over the break as they came away with their first victory over SDSU since 1967.

Most notably, the defense played their best game of the year. Let’s take a closer look at the Aggies victory:

OFFENSE:

- The offensive line was once again dominant, not allowing a single sack. They also helped the run game garner 82 rushing yards. That may not seem like a lot (and it really isn’t when considering the rushing talent the Aggies have), but it’s the highest amount of yards the Aztecs defense, ranked 4th in the nation at stopping the run, has given up through four games this season. While the rushing attack may not have garnered the numbers they would like to see, they were effective enough to get the job done while the passing game couldn’t find the endzone.

- The area of concern here is when the offense entered the redzone. The Aggies entered the SDSU redzone four times throughout the game, but settled for field goals on three occasions whilst finding the endzone just once. It’s good to know that they can at least churn out some points while inside the 20, but a few more visits to the endzone instead of settling for field goals and the Aggies win this game comfortably. Jordan Love had no touchdown passes, albeit while staying mistake free.

DEFENSE:

- The defense was at its best on Saturday night. If the Aggies make a few stops or don’t commit mental errors on a couple of fourth down plays, the final score on this game is 23-3 instead of 23-17. Aside from those mental lapses on fourth down, the defense had great success snuffing out any San Diego State momentum. David Woodward, unsurprisingly, had 13 tackles to lead the team. Tipa Galeai also made his presence known with three tackles for loss.

- The defense really gave the Aggies this win, as the offense wasn’t playing up to expectations. Shaq Bond’s 1st quarter interception return for a score turned out to be the difference maker in this game.

OVERALL:

- This game was a clear indicator of how this year’s Utah State team differentiates from last season’s iteration: 2019 USU doesn’t have the same explosive offense that 2018 did, but still has a nice amount of firepower with the addition of Siaosi Mariner and Jaylen Warren. 2019 USU has a better defense than 2018 USU, with a lot of experience at all three levels.

- It was concerning to see the offense reach the endzone just once, but we must take into account the solid unit that is the San Diego State defense causing some of that drive disruption.

- The Aggies return home on Saturday to take on the Colorado State Rams, who will be looking for revenge after last year’s insane ending in Ft. Collins.

What did you think of the Aggies victory? Let us know in the comments!

Follow Alex on Twitter @thesportswizard and follow The Mountain West Connection @MWCConnection.