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The USU football team scored 44 unanswered points to beat Weber State 54-17, on Saturday, Sept. 10.
Utah State rolled through the Wildcats in the second half and outscored the in-state foes 37-0 to pick up the first win of the season in the home-opener.
Weber scored all of their 17 points in the first half. On the first touchdown drive, Weber State quarterback Mike Hoke passed the ball to Eric Shufford on the flat. The freshman receiver then heaved the ball downfield to senior wideout Austin Raught, who took the ball down to the 1-yard line. The double pass set up freshman running back Tanner Hinds to punch the ball in on the next play to make it 7-3. USU gave up 20 yards in penalties on the scoring drive.
Hoke was sacked four times in the game and completed 20 of 33 passes for 138 yards and one touchdown.
The Wildcats held USU even in the first half, 17-17. Five Utah State drives ended without scores, punting the ball away twice, fumbling twice and failing to convert on fourth down once.
USU head coach Gary Andersen said it was a tremendous win.
“It was a tough, tough first half,” Andersen said. “I believe probably the way the young men were basically able to settle down in the second half and stopping making mistakes and stop making stupid penalties on defense.”
The second half saw a completely different Aggie team from the first. Utah State’s Chuckie Keeton completed his first two career touchdown passes at the collegiate level. The first was to junior receiver Matt Austin for 49 yards to make it 37-17 with two minutes to go in the third quarter.
Keeton said it was great to get his first touchdown.
“(Quarterbacks) Coach Wells actually called from the press box,” the 6-foot-2 freshman said. “He said to target one of the cornerbacks. I just looked out and it was him and Matt Austin, just had to throw it up and let Matt do what he does.”
Keeton’s second TD pass came during a Utah State drive spanning three plays, 99 yards and just under a minute and a half near the start of the fourth quarter. After running back Robert Turbin took the ball from his own 1-yard line 34 yards up the middle and fellow running back Kerwynn Williams rushed for another 36, Keeton found junior receiver Chuck Jacobs who had his man beat and raced to the corner of the endzone to go up 47-17.
Keeton ended with 10 of 15 passing for 166 yards. He also carried the ball nine times for 53 yards and three touchdowns total.
Turbin gained 180 yards rushing and scored two touchdowns. He became the eighth Aggie to reach the 2,000 yard milestone in school history.
Turbin said he had to give credit to the offensive line, who earned the game ball from Andersen for their tremendous play.
“They opened up holes for me,” Turbin said. “Those guys really worked hard in the offseason and you can tell a difference in that offensive line now and last season and the season before. They do a great job getting off the ball and getting the push off guys. Obviously, they are bigger.”
Utah State outrushed the Wildcats by about 11 times, gaining 440 yards to Weber State’s 46. The Aggies had 26 first downs, ten more than Weber State who punted 11 times in the game.
Weber State head coach Ron McBride said Utah State has a lot of weapons offensively.
“This is a good Utah State football team,” the 72-year-old coach said. “They are very good and I am disappointed that we didn’t step up to the challenge in the second half. They were a much better team, they got smart. They quit dicking around and lined up and just started running it down our throat, which was a good idea. Why wouldn’t you, when you have Robert Turbin and Michael Smith?”