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Utah State hosts Wyoming Saturday, hoping to avoid back-to-back losses

By Kyle McDonald, Contributor  |  Posted Oct 12th, 2017 @ 10:28pm


LOGAN — The Utah State University campus is going to be a blizzard of activity, excitement and energy this weekend as it is homecoming for the Aggies. With it comes a big Mountain West Conference showdown against Wyoming on Saturday afternoon at Maverik Stadium.

The Aggies are looking to avoid their first back-to-back losses of the season after falling 27-14 to Colorado State last Saturday. USU head coach Matt Wells addressed that in his weekly press conference.

"The big thing is to learn from it, and we have to get off the mat and show a bunch of resiliency and grit to bounce back and to not lose two in a row," Wells said. "That's the challenge this week is to play well against a good Wyoming team, a really good Wyoming team."

Against Colorado State, the Aggies came out completely flat and the Rams took full advantage of it, jumping out to a 24-0 lead. Colorado State scored on its first four drives of the game, three touchdowns and a 33-yard field goal.

In fact, the only reason USU put points on the board in the first half was due to backup quarterback DJ Nelson. The junior from Logan blocked his second punt of the season and ran it back 20 yards for the score. The play actually earned Nelson the Mountain West Conference Special Teams Player of the Week honors.

USU scored its only other touchdown with 1:37 left in the game when Kent Myers found LaJuan Hunt Jr. down the right sideline from 22 yards out.

"We came out and didn't play well in the first quarter-and-a-half," Wells said. "It's something we haven't done in the last couple of weeks. I don't have a magic answer for you. It was both sides of the ball. We didn't play well and they took advantage of it … we spotted them too much, and against good teams in this league, you can't do that."

One place that Wells is hoping to have better play is in the trenches. The USU offensive line surrendered seven sacks to Colorado State, and the Rams gashed the Aggie defensive line for 216 rushing yards.

"We didn't play well enough to win the game in either phase," Wells said. "When you don't win in the trenches on either side, you're going to have a hard time winning in the Mountain West."

Another place the Aggies have to get better is the consistency department on offense. USU struggled to get any momentum against Colorado State and failed to maintain drives and convert on third downs. The Aggies were just 5-of-16 on third downs and held possession for less than 23 minutes against Colorado State. Kent Myers struggled all day to complete passes as he was just 17 of 29 for 152 yards and a touchdown.

However, of those 17 completions, only one went to an actual USU receiver. Tight ends Dax Raymond and Carson Terrell combined for seven of the receptions; running backs Eltoro Allen and Hunt combined for nine receptions. Junior wide receiver Ron'quavion Tarver was the lone USU receiver to catch a pass as he caught two passes for 8 yards.

"What I'd like to see is a little more consistency," Wells said. "I think we've either been really close to what we want, in rhythm and playing with a lot of continuity in getting the ball downfield and running it when we want to and being explosive, to the second half of the Wisconsin game, the Wake Forest game and most of the game Saturday not being very explosive. Not having any continuity … I'm very happy with coach (David) Yost. The scheme we're doing fits us. He is a pro. … We need to be a lot more consistent. They want to be. He'd be the first to tell you that. In terms of what we're doing, we just need to do it better, but I like what we're doing."

Kickoff is slated for 2:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon at Maverik Stadium.

Kyle McDonald is sports fan who loves the Chicago Cubs. Follow him on Twitter at @kylesportsbias

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