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Utah State Perspective: Postgame Analysis of Falcons vs Aggies

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A recap of Thursday nights game between Air Force and Utah State

Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP, Pool

Now six games into the season for the Aggies, Utah State is now 1-5. Utah State is already ineligible for a bowl game and has no chance of making the Mountain West Championship with one win, so their final game of the season will be next weekend on the road against Colorado State.

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

TD USU (Andrew Peasley 4 yard pass to Jordan Nathan) USU 7-0

TD AF (Kadin Remsberg 21 yard run) 7-7 Tie

Second Quarter

TD AF (Haaziq Daniels 49 yard pass to Ben Peterson) 14-7 AF

TD AF (Haaziq Daniels 37 yard run) 21-7 AF

Third Quarter

TD AF (Matthew Murla 1 yard run) 28-7 AF

Fourth Quarter

TD AF (Brad Roberts 15 yard run) 35-7 AF

Statistics Comparison

Total Yards: AF: 461 USU: 232

Passing Yards: AF: 127 USU: 123

Rushing Yards: AF: 334 USU: 109

Turnovers: AF: 0 USU: 2

First Downs: AF: 24 USU: 14

Third Down: AF: 5-10 USU: 9-15

Fourth Down: AF: 3-4 USU: 0-2

Yards Per Pass: AF: 14.1 USU: 3.8

Time of Possession: AF: 34:54 USU: 25:06

Utah State Players of the Game

Offense: Andrew Peasley didn’t have a great game but neither did the rest of the Utah State offense. Peasley was 17/32 on 123 yards passing and also threw a touchdown and two costly interceptions. Peasley also led the team in rushing yards for the second straight game with 53 yards on eight carries.

Defense: Nick Heninger had 14 total tackles, four solo. He did not have any tackles for loss and as a team, Utah State had two tackles for loss.

Analysis

A week after the offensive fireworks for Utah State, who scored 21 points and a defensive touchdown in the third quarter against the Lobos in the third quarter, Utah State only scored a touchdown the entire game. Air Force scored a touchdown in every quarter and two touchdowns in the second quarter.

Anytime a team is outgained in both passing and rushing yards, it typically isn’t a good sign. Air Force was only 7-9 on passing but still threw 127 yards and and touchdown compared to Utah States 123 yards and a touchdown on 17-32 on passing. Air Force also had 24 first downs compared to Utah States 14 even though Utah State converted more third downs (60%) than Air Force (50%). Utah State may have done better on third down but did not convert any of their fourth downs, going 0-2, while Air Force was 75%, 3-4.

Nobody on the Utah State offense really stood out. Andrew Peasley didn’t have a great game. Despite throwing 32 passes, he only passed for 123 yards and threw only one touchdown. He had two costly interceptions, including one at the end of the first half that might have resulted in points for Utah State. Utah State only averaged 3.8 yards per pass which doesn’t bode well when trying to consistently move the ball down the field, and Andrew Peasley seemed to take a little longer on some plays whereas last week he was able to run out of the pocket and create plays. In the preview of this game, it was mentioned that Utah State might have a harder time moving the ball against Air Force and struggled they did.

One of the absolute musts in playing triple option teams is to be prepared for anything. Triple option teams will prioritize running the ball, but that doesn’t mean they will not pass the ball, and this was something that got Utah State. The Aggies allowed a few big plays through the air that resulted in Air Force scoring. The Aggies defense also gave up quite a few big runs, resulting in 334 rushing yards and Air Force being able to run the clock. The Aggies defense had a hard time getting off the field and the offense was not able to be consistent enough to continue moving the ball despite converting third downs.

Last week, Utah State was able to spread the ball out through the passing game to various receivers and even got the tight ends involved. Utah State was able to distribute the ball once again this week but was unable to create big plays through doing this.

Throughout the season, Utah State has struggled to run the ball and they had an even harder time running without Jaylen Warren. Peasley ran for 53 yards on eight carries and Elelyon Noa had 30 yards on 10 carries. In order to be consistently successful offensively, a team must be able to both run and pass the ball effectively, and Utah State has not been able to do either for most of the season.

One game against Colorado State remains (if it isn’t canceled) 1-2, they have beaten Wyoming and lost their two other games to teams that are near the top of the conference. In order to beat the Rams next week, Utah State needs to find a better balance between the running and passing game and they will also need to take more shots down field. Defensively, the Aggies are going to have to prevent the big shots down the field, which Colorado State is capable of making. While the Aggies may end the season with at most two wins, they will be able to grow and develop themselves in the offseason and play better with more experience come next season.