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Utah State Week 1 Season Simulation

Looking at how Utah State would have fared in a simulation of the first game of the original 2020 schedule

NCAA Football: Georgia State at Air Force Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Each week a simulation through NCAA 14 will be used with updated rosters for the 2020 season to predict how the season may have gone for the Utah State Aggies. How would the season have looked if Utah State had played the original schedule? What if Henry Colombi hand’t transferred and he had won the starting job after playing behind Jordan Love? This is a look into a un-disrupted 2020 season for the Utah State Aggies.

This Week: vs. Washington State (September 3rd)

This game would have been played on the opening night of college football, the Thursday night of opening weekend. This was an anticipated game in Logan, Utah and it was a chance for Utah State to start the season off with a bang. Uncertainty about how the offense would perform would be after the loss of Jordan Love. The simulation itself was conducted with Henry Colombi as the starter though he transferred after the rosters were updated. Washington State likely would have been favored by double digits in this game, probably by about 14, however strange things happen on Thursday night college football.

First Quarter: WSU: 14 USU: 7

The Aggies are able to keep it close within the first quarter, however Washington State has scored two touchdowns. The Cougars were the first team to score late in the first quarter with a 9 yard touchdown pass from Cammon Cooper but with seconds remaining Utah State ties the game after Henry Colombi throws a deep touchdown pass to Jordan Nathan. After Utah State scored Washington State had a quick touchdown after a couple big gains and Cammon Cooper ended the quarter by throwing two touchdowns.

Second Quarter: WSU: 24 USU: 14

In the second quarter, Henry Colombi threw a costly interception that led to a Washington State touchdown and Washington State got a late field goal. Utah State scores a touchdown off a Henry Colombi pass to Jordan Nathan and Washington State takes a 10 point led going into the half.

Third Quarter: WSU: 31 USU: 28

The Aggies take a stand and cut the lead to three in the third quarter. Jaylen Warren ran for a short touchdown and Henry Colombi threw a third touchdown to Savon Scarver. Washington State throws an interception and gives Utah State more life. Washington State manged a field goal in the middle of the third and Utah State makes the game close going into the 4th quarter.

Fourth Quarter: WSU: 38 USU: 31

The Cougars improve upon their third quarter performance and score a touchdown. Utah State only manages a field goal late in the game. Henry Colombi threw a second interception on a drive that started to look promising after a big play by Savon Scarver. The Aggies are unable to move the ball late in the fourth quarter and begin the season 0-1 as the clock runs out. FINAL: Washington State beats Utah State 38-31

Washington State Passing:

Cammon Cooper: 40/64 495 yards passing 4 touchdowns 1 interception

Utah State Passing:

Henry Colombi: 23/38 240 yards passing 3 touchdowns 2 interceptions

Washington State Receiving:

Travell Harris: 8 catches 102 yards 2 touchdown

Renard Bell: 7 receptions 111 6 2 touchdowns

Utah State Receiving:

Jordan Nathan: 15 receptions 110 yards 2 touchdowns

Carson Terrel: 10 receptions 53 yards

Savon Scarver: 8 recpetions 77 yards 1 touchdown

Washington State Rushing:

Max Borghi: 18 attempts 160 yards rushing 1 touchdown

Utah State Rushing:

Jaylen Warren: 20 attempts 110 yards 1 touchdown

Utah State Defensive Leaders

Zhadori Jackson: 11 tackles 1 int

Eric Munoz: 7 tackles

Troy Lefeged: 6 tackles

Shaw Bond: 4 tackles

George Hicks: 9 tackles

Team Stats:

Total offense: WSU: 35 first downs USU: 30 first downs

Rushing: WSU: 200 yards USU: 180 yards

Passing: WSU: 520 yards USU: 270 yards

Third Down Conversions: WSU: 8-17 (47%) USU: 10-24 (41%)

Turnovers: WSU: 1 interception USU: 2 interceptions

Penalties: WSU: 6-66 USU: 16-134

Red Zone: WSU: 70% USU: 37%

Player of the game for Utah State: Offense: Jordan Nathan 15 receptions 110 yards 2 touchdowns Defense: Zahdori Jackson 11 tackles 1 interception

Thoughts

This is honestly a pretty good indicator of how this game would have gone. Washington State is the better team, however on opening weekend on a Thursday night where strange things happen, Utah State is able to make this a close game before falling to the Cougars late. Henry Colombi performs decently as a successor to Jordan Love but throws two costly interceptions that could have turned the game around. Utah State also struggled to get the running game going, something that would need to be addressed moving forward. Defensively, the Aggies had trouble forcing turnovers (1 interception) and that is also something that would need to be addressed. Utah States red zone offense was at 37%, which is not good at all and this will need to be fixed. The Aggies also had 16 penalties so there also needs to be more discipline in playing a clean game.

The close loss to Washington State is disappointing, but Utah State looks to improve in the week two matchup against Southern Utah before preparing for the trip to Seattle to play the Huskies.