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LOGAN -- A very motivated Utah State football team entered Romney Stadium and laid a serious beat down on Wyoming in a 63-19 romp Saturday night. This time, there was no chance of a comeback by the opponent as the game was all but over by halftime.
The Aggies were determined to win and very well might have save their season and their chances at going to a bowl game with the win.
Here are this week's Game day grades:
Chuckie Keeton: A+
It was a career night for Keeton as he was given the opportunity that he has waited for the entire season: the chance to showcase his arm. He did that in a big way on Saturday night, completing 15 of 20 passes for 213 yards and five touchdowns, surpassing his total on the season for scores through the air. He also ran four times, picking up 44 yards on the ground. Keeton masterfully executed the Aggies offense and led the charge in the blowout of the Cowboys.
Adam Kennedy: A
While Kennedy collected some garbage time minutes in the fourth quarter, he was effective and maintained his poise under center. He continued to drive the Aggie offense and made smart plays, even if a lot of the plays in the fourth quarter were handoffs to the running backs. Kennedy did what he was asked and he did it effectively.
Running Backs/Full Backs: A
The Aggies leading rusher, Robert Turbin, saw much more action this week, carrying the ball 20 times for 111 yards and one touchdown while picking up another touchdown through the air. Michael Smith chipped in eight carries for 51 yards and two touchdowns while Kerwynn Williams ran six times for 55. The running backs made Wyoming scramble all over the field on Saturday night and showed that Utah State may be the best 2-3 football team in the nation.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: A
The Utah State wide receivers and tight ends have been waiting patiently all season long for offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin to open up the passing game. He did that on Saturday night and his team responded in a huge way. Tight end D.J. Tialavea caught his first career touchdown pass on the season while Stanley Morrison extended his WAC-leading games with a reception streak to 30 games with a nine yard touchdown catch. The receiving corps showed tonight that the passing game does work in Logan.
Offensive Line: A+
The offensive line created massive gaps in the defense to allow for the running backs to truck their way on through while also keeping Chuckie Keeton and Adam Kennedy upright all night long. It was a stellar performance by the line, not allowing the Wyoming defense to get into a groove. Even though the offensive line doesn't show up on the score sheet, their presence was felt all night long.
Overall Offense: A+
Utah State racked up 63 points on the night, didn't allow a sack, and only threw five incomplete passes. That's about as good of a performance you might see all season long from any FBS college football team.
Defensive Line: B+
The defensive line struggled at the outset of the game, specifically in the first quarter, but finally found their way and began to dominate the game, especially from the midpoint of the second quarter and on. They stopped the Cowboys on several possessions, including hammering freshman quarterback Brett Smith in the backfield on multiple occasions. If it weren't for the first quarter, the grade for the defensive line might be an A.
Bobby Wagner led the way once again for the Aggies with 11 tackles while McKade Brady, returning from his ejection last week against BYU, collected seven tackles. The linebackers, much like the defensive line, struggled early on against the Cowboys but hit their stride in the second quarter and showed their muscle against Wyoming. Several big stops slowed the Cowboys' momentum and allowed the Utah State offense to stay on the field against a tired Wyoming defense.
Defensive Backs: B+
The defensive secondary did a great job this week, not allowing a touchdown pass come their way while containing the Cowboys receivers. It was a step in the right direction for the much maligned USU secondary. They forced Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith to make tough throws with good coverage.
Overall Defense: B+
The defense played a dominant game from the second quarter on throughout the rest of the game. They played with cohesion and helped each other out on their reads. If it wasn't for the poor showing in the first three minutes of the game, the defense would have earned an ‘A' grade.
Special Teams: B-
It looked as if the demons that have haunted the Aggies this year were back in full force at the beginning of the game. Kerwynn Williams attempted to field the kickoff, but had the ball strike his foot and roll into the end zone with the Cowboys recovering the ball for the touchdown. After that, however, it was all positive for the Aggies. Punter Tyler Bennett had a quiet night, only kicking three times including his first punt of the game with 2:29 remaining in the third quarter while placekicker Josh Thompson connected on all nine of his extra point attempts.
Overall Team: A-
The team performed exceptionally well considering all of the adversity they have faced early on this season. The Aggies started out slowly in the first quarter, spotting the Cowboys 12 points before outscoring Wyoming 63-7 throughout the rest of the game. Overall, it's probably the best outing the Aggie faithful could have hoped for as Utah State improves to 2-3 on the season. With the win, Utah State completes their non-conference schedule and will open the WAC portion of the season on the road against Fresno State next Saturday.