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Utah State Perspective: Postgame Analysis of Lobos vs Aggies

A recap of the game between Utah State and New Mexico that took place on Thanksgiving night

Yukai Peng, Deseret News

It may have taken Utah State five games, but in their fifth game they finally achieved their first win of the season, 41-27 over New Mexico. Utah State has a more challenging triple option team against Air Force next week but things are finally starting to look a lot better for the Aggies.

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

FG USU (Conner Coles 27 yard field goal) USU 3-0

FG NM (Donovan Murphree 39 yard field goal) 3-3 Tie

Second Quarter

FG USU (Conner Coles 44 yard field goal) 6-3 USU

TD NM (Bobby Cole one yard TD run) 10-6 NM

FG NM (Donovan Murphree 31 yard field goal) 13-6 NM

Third Quarter

TD USU (Andrew Peasley 36 yard TD pass to Justin McGriff) 13-13 Tie

TD USU (Andrew Peasley 26 yard TD pass to Savon Scarver) 20-13 USU

TD USU (Andrew Peasley 25 yard TD pass to Carson Terrell) 27-13 USU

TD USU (Kina Maile 16 yard fumble return) 34-13 USU

TD NM (Bryson Carroll 28 yard TD pass to Andrew Erickson) 34-20 USU

Fourth Quarter

TD NM (Bobby Cole one yard TD run) 34-27 USU

TD USU (Andrew Peasley 62 yard TD run) 41-27 USU

Statistics Comparison

Total Yards: NM: 348 USU: 452

Passing Yards: NM: 152 USU: 243

Rushing Yards: NM: 196 USU: 209

Penalties: NM: 8-84 USU: 9-75

First Downs: NM: 9-17 USU: 6-12

Turnovers: NM: 2 USU: 2

Time of possession: NM: 31:05 USU: 28:55

Utah State Players of the Game

Offense: Andrew Peasley was 14-21 on his passes and threw for 239 yards and three touchdowns. Peasley also had 118 yards on 11 carriers and another touchdown so he had a big game and most importantly didn’t throw any interceptions and was able to keep drives alive.

Defense: There was a number of different Utah State defenders that had really good games, but the nod here goes to Shaq Bond. He had 10 tackles (10 solo) and two tackles for loss. He was able to make plays on the football to prevent completions and receivers getting open. Bond was no doubt a significant factor in Utah State preventing big plays.

Analysis

In the preview for this game, I mentioned that Utah State needed to become more creative on offense and I also mentioned that Utah State seemed to be figuring things out but wasn’t quite there yet. Three offensive touchdowns in the first half definitely shows that the Aggies have figured more things out. It is important to remember that New Mexico has struggled this year and that they still don’t have a win, but none the less this was a big game for Utah State offensively.

Andrew Peasley was able to get things going in the passing game and there was a number of well known names for Utah State that got involved in Justin McGriff (4 receptions 99 yards, 1 TD), Savon Scarver (2 receptions 32 yards, 1 TD), and Carson Terrell (1 reception 25 yards, 1 TD). Derek Wright (4 receptions 70 yards) was also involved in the passing game. One of the keys as already mentioned for Utah State to become better on offense was to be more creative. Getting the tight ends involved and letting Andrew Peasley run free definitely falls under the category of creative. Devonta’e Henry-Cole didn’t have a bad game, he had 10 carries for 50 yards, Peasley just had more opportunities to run the football.

Utah State limited the turnovers as well with two fumbles and also forced two turnovers. The defense was able to prevent big plays from developing and was also able to play smarter defense and get New Mexico off the field when it mattered most. A number of defensive players stepped up and Utah State was even able to score a defensive touchdown. Utah State had struggled to stop the run this year but held the Lobos to 196 yards as a team, which is not a bad statistic at all considering the type of offense New Mexico runs.

As previously mentioned, it is important to remember that this game was against New Mexico, who has also struggled this year. Air Force is a much different opponent than the Lobos and poses more challenges. Offensively the Falcons are more efficient and defensively, they are a better unit. This is going to be a much harder game for Utah State to win but if the Aggies can learn and improve on their performance from this week, which was good but not perfect, then Utah State will be able to keep it close against Air Force and may even have an opportunity to win that game.