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Utah State Perspective: San Diego State at Utah State Recap

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A summary and analysis of Saturday nights game between the Aztecs and the Aggies

NCAA Football: Utah State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

So this game didn’t go so well for the Aggies either. The defense was on the field for most of the game and the Aggies couldn’t get anything consistent going on offense in a 38-7 loss at home to San Diego State. Jason Shelley once again threw under 100 yards and had another interception and the Aggies also allowed over 100 yards rushing to a single player once again.

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

TD SDSU (Kobe Smith 15 yard pass from Carson Baker) (3:44) 7-0 SDSU

Second Quarter

FG SDSU (Matt Araiza 28 yard field goal) (1:10) 10-0 SDSU

TD USU (Devon Thompkins, 37 yard pass from Jason Shelley) (0:00) 10-7 SDSU

Third Quarter

TD SDSU (Greg Bell 6 yard run) (9:56) 17-7 SDSU

TD SDSU (Chance Bell 27 yard run) (5:33) 24-7 SDSU

Fourth Quarter

TD SDSU (Greg Bell, 29 yard pass from Carson Baker) (13:11) 31-7 SDSU

TD SDSU (Jordan Byrd 73 yard run) (5:14) 38-7 SDSU

Statistics Comparison

Total yards: SDSU: 570 USU: 215

Passing yards: SDSU: 163 USU: 112

Rushing yards: SDSU: 407 USU: 103

Penalties: SDSU: 6-50 USU: 3-32

Turnovers: SDSU: 0 USU: 3 (two interceptions and a fumble)

Time of Possession: SDSU: 37:10 USU: 22:50

Utah State players of the game

Offense: Devon Thompkins, who had six receptions for 55 yards and a touchdown. Jason Shelley threw for under 100 yards and Utah State didn’t have a player that rushed over 30 yards so this was an easy choice.

Defense: Shaq Bond had 12 total tackles and 9 solo. He had a tackle for loss and added two pass deflections.

Analysis

This game, the first home game of the year, did not go the way the Aggies wanted it to go. The Aztecs were able to sustain drives in the first half but were unable to sustain drives, missing two field goals, which kept the Aggies right in the game. The Aztecs were able to get chunks of yardage however the Aggies did do a nice job of not allowing really explosive plays. Utah State struggled on offense all night, punting four times in the first half and also throwing a costly interception when they were in San Diego State territory. The first half ended with Utah State gaining momentum after Jason Shelley threw a 37 yard touchdown pass to Devon Thompkins to cut the lead to three at the half, which would be the only Aggies touchdown of the night.

On the first drive of the second half, San Diego State went 10 plays 75 yards to put the lead back at 10. On this drive, the Aztecs converted a 3rd and 10 and Greg Bell had a 30 yard run that set San Diego State up nicely. The Aggies punted then Chance Bell broke off a 27 yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 17. On the next Aztecs drive it was a 73 yard touchdown run by Jordan Byrd which would be the final score of the night.

One of the important things to note between this game and the Boise State game is playing smarter on defense. In both games Utah State allowed third down conversions and also allowed explosive plays, for Boise State it was through the air and for San Diego State, it was on the ground. If the Aggies want to turn things around quickly, they must play smarter defense and stop opponents on third down and certainly limit explosive plays as well.

For this game, it was very important for the Aggies to win the battle of time of possession to give their defense a rest against the Aggies physical offense. This did not happen. San Diego State won the battle of time of possession by well over ten minutes. The longest drive on offense that the Aggies had came when the game was well decided, a 10 play 39 yard drive that resulted in a punt. The defense is bound to tire out when they spend that much time on the field and it doesn’t help against San Diego States running game.

Utah State didn’t win the turnover battle either, as they had three turnovers and San Diego State had none. For Utah State to stay in this game after halftime it was going to be important for them to get a stop and do something offensively to start to second half but it was San Diego State who did things offensively and got the stops they needed.

Overall, this was a very disappointing loss for the Aggies and it is a hard start to the season. The offensive line was expected to be one of the best and through two games hasn’t played like it. The receivers were expected to be better than last season, but they have been unable to get separation. The defense was supposed to be one of the better defenses in the Mountain West but they haven’t looked too good so far and haven’t forced any turnovers.

Bottom line is that Gary Anderson and his staff and players have a lot to figure out if they want to be competitive against what is shaping to be a strong Nevada Wolfpack team. The offense needs to find answers and playmakers. The defense needs to settle down, make some stops, and force some turnovers. The Aggies have a long road ahead and if they do not find answers soon, that road is going to get even longer.