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Eli Lucero, Herald Journal via AP

The Triple Option: USU thumps Hawaii to become bowl eligible for sixth time in seven years

By Kyle McDonald, KSL.com Contributor  |  Posted Nov 18th, 2017 @ 9:16pm


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LOGAN — All the Utah State football team had to do on Saturday in the final home game of the season was beat Hawaii. A win would make the Aggies bowl eligible for the sixth time in seven years.

Mission accomplished.

USU rushed for 311 yards and the Aggie defense pitched its first shutout of the season in a dominating 38-0 win on Saturday afternoon at Maverik Stadium.

On Senior Day, it was seniors that shined. Running back LaJuan Hunt Jr. recorded his third 100-yard rushing game of the season, racking up 111 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown. Senior wide receiver Braelon Roberts had two catches for 55 yards and a touchdown, and backup quarterback Kent Myers even shined in limited time, completing 3-of-6 passes for 51 yards and a touchdown to go along with 30 rushing yards on four carries.

USU head coach Matt Wells improved to 6-0 following the bye week and now the Aggies get to focus on the regular season finale at Air Force on Nov. 25.

Here is the triple option of takes from the Aggies' bowl-eligible win over Hawaii.

Fast start was crucial

In the three previous home games against Colorado State, Wyoming and Boise State, USU failed to get off to a quick start and fell behind early. In each of those contests, USU lost.

Against Hawaii, the first drive stalled but USU scored touchdowns on its next three possessions to jump out to a 21-0 lead early in the second quarter. It took USU all of three minutes and 49 seconds to score 21 points and the Aggies never looked back.

Big plays fueled the quick start with the first touchdown coming on a 60-yard rush by sophomore wide receiver Gerold Bright. On the third scoring drive, senior quarterback Kent Myers hit senior Braelon Roberts from 49 yards out to go up 21-0. On the first play of the second half for the Aggies, Hunt Jr. scored his lone touchdown from 48 yards out.

LaJuan Hunt Jr. has another big day

Yes, it has been pointed out what Hunt did with the touchdown and 111 rushing yards. In the past two wins for USU, Hunt has rushed for a combined 228 yards and three touchdowns.

The senior from Fort Lauderdale also has three receptions for 28 yards in the two wins. The key for USU seems to be give LaJuan the ball. USU is 3-0 when Hunt rushes for 100 yards or more.

Hunt also had over 100 yards rushing against San Jose State in the 61-10 blowout win over the Spartans. With Air Force coming up in the season finale, Hunt could be in store for another big game as the Falcons give up over 200 rushing yards per game.

Defense impressive in pitching the shutout

It hasn't happened often at Utah State in recent years, but the Aggies finally got a shutout on Saturday. Despite giving up 318 yards of total offense to Hawaii, the Aggie defense bent but didn't break. In fact, in the last seven red zone possessions, the Aggie defense have snuffed out seven attempts to score.

On Saturday, it was the sacks on third down early in the game that played a major impact. USU had four sacks on the day to go along with one turnover. That one turnover kept the shutout alive as it came on the Aggies 1-yard line. Gaje Ferugson forced a fumble by Hawaii running back Diocemy Saint Juste when it looked like he was going in for a touchdown and Justus Te'i pounced on it to keep the Warrior Rainbows from scoring.

The Aggies improved to 6-5 on the season and face Air Force on Nov. 25 in the regular season finale. A win at Air Force ensures a winning record in 2017.

But, for now, USU will enjoy this win and becoming bowl eligible following a dismal 2016 season when the Aggies won just three games.


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

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