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Utah State Football: WAC Conference Clipboard

Utah State Football: WAC Conference Clipboard

By Matt Harris, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Oct. 19, 2011 at 10:59 a.m.



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LOGAN -- The schools of the WAC conference compiled a 4-3 record during the past week. One team had the week off (Louisiana Tech) while all three conference games featured thrilling finishes.

This week, there are three conference games Utah State hosts Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State travels to Hawaii, and Fresno State visits Nevada. San Jose State and Idaho have the week off.

Here is a look at this week's WAC Conference news:

Fresno State: The Bulldogs rebounded from a humiliating loss last week as they beat Utah State 31-21 at home on Saturday.

Robbie Rouse rumbled for 140 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown while Derek Carr threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns on 23 of 39 passing. Carr also ran in another touchdown for Fresno State.

Josh Harper and Jalen Saunders both had 61 yards receiving with five and four catches respectively, including a touchdown reception for Saunders.

Saunders was given an honorable mention for WAC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts along with Tristan Okpalaugo for WAC Defensive Player of the Week. Tight end Marcel Jensen received an honorable mention for WAC Special Teams Player of the Week.

As of this week, Fresno State ranks 51st nationally in the passing game with a 237.9 yards per game average while ranking 73rd in the run game at 135.1 yards per game. The Bulldogs average 27.3 points per game, good enough for 69th nationally. However, the scoring defense ranks among the bottom of all FBS college football at 36.5 points against per game which is 107th nationally.

The Bulldogs' record is now 3-4 on the season, including a 2-0 record in WAC conference play. Fresno State has wins against Idaho, Utah State and FCS North Dakota and losses against Nebraska, California, Ole Miss and Boise State. Fresno State will be on the road this week as they play the Nevada Wolf Pack in Reno on Saturday.

Hawaii: The Warriors went into their game with San Jose State as a huge favorite to clobber the Spartans and came out on the losing end of a 28-27 decision.

Bryant Moniz completed 27 of 46 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns while running eight times for 64 yards. Moniz struggled however at times as he threw three interceptions as well. Joey Iosefa ran for 81 yards on seven carries for two touchdowns.

Hawaii had six turnovers overall in a game that received more notoriety for being sloppy as both teams combined for 12 turnovers on the night. The Warriors' defense gave up 469 yards of offense to San Jose State on the night.

Iosefa collected an honorable mention for WAC Offensive Player of the Week for his short, but effective performance against the Spartans. Senior safety Richard Torres was given an honorable mention for WAC Defensive Player of the Week.

The vaunted Hawaii passing game ranks 9th in the nation at 336.7 yards per game, which explains the Warriors' 35.5 points per game average, good enough for 26th overall. However, with so many passes being thrown, Hawaii's rushing attack struggles overall as they average only 96.2 yards per game on the ground, which is 109th nationally. Hawaii's defense sits in the middle of the pack, giving up 27.5 points per game for a ranking of 70th overall.

Hawaii now sits with a 3-3 overall record, including a 1-1 record in conference play. The Warriors have wins over UC-Davis, Colorado, and Louisiana Tech and losses coming against San Jose State, Washington and UNLV.

Idaho: Things just keep getting worse for the Vandals as they fell 31-24 against New Mexico State this past Saturday. The loss extends Idaho's losing streak to five games.

Brian Reader completed 22 of 35 passes for 167 yards and one interception. Princeton McCarty rushed 25 times for 116 yards and a touchdown while also catching two passes for 25 yards. Mike Scott led all Vandals' receivers with five catches for 62 yards.

Idaho managed only 281 yards on offense while giving up 394 yards on defense against the Aggies.

McCarty was given an honorable mention for WAC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance while kick and punt returner Justin Veltung garnered an honorable mention for WAC Special Teams Player of the Week for his 64-yard punt return for a touchdown.

The Vandals passing game ranks near the middle of the pack at 74th overall with 215.6 yards per game. However, the rushing attack continues to be a major problem as Idaho ranks 117th nationally at 76.1 yards per game, which is three spots from the bottom of FBS college football. The offense ranks in the lower third tier in scoring at 20.7 points per game, which is a ranking of 102nd overall, while the defense is slightly higher at 29.6 points against per game, a ranking of 85th overall.

With the defeat, Idaho drops to 1-6 on the season, including 0-3 in WAC conference play. The Vandals have losses to New Mexico State, Bowling Green, Fresno State, Texas A&M, Virginia, and Louisiana Tech with their only victory coming against FCS North Dakota. The Vandals have a much needed week off to regroup as they will prepare to welcome Hawaii to the Kibbie Dome on October 29th.

Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs had the week off as they prepared to travel to Logan to face the Utah State Aggies on Saturday afternoon.

Louisiana Tech ranks right near the middle of the pack for most statistical categories including passing yards (238.0 per game, 50th overall), rushing yards (147.0 per game, 63rd overall), and scoring offense (28.2 points per game, 64th overall). The lone lower ranking is for the Bulldogs' scoring defense, which ranks 82nd nationally at 29.5 points against per game.

Louisiana Tech's record stands at 2-4 with losses to Southern Miss, Mississippi State, Houston, and Hawaii while the wins came against Central Arkansas and Idaho.

Nevada: The Wolf Pack welcomed the New Mexico Lobos to Reno last Saturday, and then proceeded to annihilate them in a 49-7 victory.

Freshman quarterback Cody Fajardo led Nevada's dual threat offense as he completed 20 of 25 passes for 203 yards with one interception while running 13 times for 86 yards and two touchdowns. Stefphon Jefferson led the rushing attack with 14 carries for 108 yards and a score.

Lampford Mark had three short touchdown runs for Nevada. The Wolf Pack ran for 338 yards total on the night.

The Nevada defense wreaked havoc against the New Mexico passing game, allowing a measly 89 yards through the air.

Fajardo was given an honorable mention for WAC Offensive Player of the Week alongside defensive back Bubba Boudreaux, who received an honorable mention for WAC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Cornerback Khalid Wooten collected the WAC Defensive Player of the Week award for his performance against the Lobos. Wooten recorded six tackles, forced two fumbles, and had one interception. Wooten's first forced fumble in the first quarter was returned 25 yards for a touchdown.

Nevada's passing game ranks near the middle of the standings at 239.5 yards per game, good enough for 49th overall. The run game continues to be a force as the Wolf Pack churn out an average 248.8 yards per game on the ground, which ranks 10th nationally. The offense, however, doesn't seem to match the amount of yards gained as they score only 27.8 points per game on average for a ranking of 67th overall. The defense improved greatly this week with the win, averaging 25.8 points against per game, which ranks 58th overall.

With the win, Nevada moves to 3-3 on the season, including 1-0 in conference play, with losses coming against Oregon, Texas Tech, and Boise State and wins against New Mexico, San Jose State and UNLV. The Wolf Pack will now face WAC opponent Fresno State this week at home.

New Mexico State: The Aggies played a back and forth game against Idaho before finally pulling the rug from underneath the Vandals in a 31-24 victory.

Matt Christian and Travaughn Colwell combined to throw for 202 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Kenny Turner rumbled his way to 171 yards rushing on 29 carries with one touchdown.

Kemonte Bateman had four receptions for 73 yards and two touchdowns as well for the Aggies.

New Mexico State's defense held Idaho to 281 yards of total offense while the Aggie offense racked up 394 yards themselves.

Turner collected and honorable mention for WAC Offensive Player of the Week for his work against the Vandals while safety Donyae Coleman received an honorable mention for WAC Defensive Player of the Week. Kick returner Taveon Rogers garnered an honorable mention for WAC Special Teams Player of the Week.

New Mexico State ranks near the top tier of passing offense in the nation, hauling in 271.2 yards per game through the air, a ranking of 30th overall. The rushing game has struggled however, as the Aggies average 129.0 yards per game on the ground which ranks 85th nationally. NMSU's scoring offense averages 26.5 points per game, good enough for 74th overall while the scoring defense is a little better at 27.8 points against per game, which ranks 71st nationally.

The Aggies improve to a record of 3-3 on the season, including a 1-1 mark in WAC conference play. New Mexico State has losses to San Jose State, Ohio, and UTEP with victories coming against Idaho, Minnesota and New Mexico. NMSU will travel to the islands for a date with the Hawaii Warriors on late Saturday night.

San Jose State: The Spartans are bringing a new swagger to their program as they continue to improve with an upset win over Hawaii 28-27 on national TV

Matt Faulkner completed 27 of 41 passes for 366 yards and one touchdown. The lone black mark on his performance was his three interceptions.

Brandon Rutley returned from injury to run for 70 yards on 25 carries while also catching four passes for 70 yards. Noel Grigsby led all receivers with 12 catches for 126 yards.

It was a turnover-filled affair with six turnovers being committed by both teams. The San Jose State offense piled up 469 yards on the night while the defense could only hold Hawaii to 445 yards.

Even though Grigsby led all receivers in receptions, it was fellow receiver Chandler Jones who collected the WAC Offensive Player of the Week award. Jones scored three touchdowns, including a 20-yard reverse, a kick return fumble, and a 37-yard pass with 36 seconds left, all of which resulted in touchdowns. Jones entered the game with only one career touchdown. He finished the game with three receptions for 85 yards.

Defensive end Travis Johnson also received an award from the WAC conference, but it was for being the Special Teams Player of the Week. Johnson blocked two kicks on the night, including an extra point attempt by Hawaii which was returned by Duke Ihenacho for a defensive two-point PAT conversion, the first ever such occurrence in San Jose State history. He also blocked a field goal with 3:22 remaining in the fourth quarter.

Ihenacho was given an honorable mention for WAC Defensive Player of the Week for his work including the defensive two-point PAT conversion.

The Spartans are improving slowly under head coach Mike MacIntyre, even if the stats don't exactly show it. The Spartans jumped up much higher in the rankings this week in the passing game, moving to 55th overall with an average of 235.3 yards per game while the run game ranks 81st overall with 129.6 yards per game. SJSU's scoring offense averages 21.4 points per game, 98th overall, while the defense gives up 30.3 points per game which ranks 91st nationally.

San Jose State record improves to 3-4 on the season, including a 2-1 mark in conference play with wins against Hawaii, New Mexico State, and Colorado State and losses to UCLA, Nevada, Stanford, and BYU. The Spartans have the week off as they prepare to travel to Ruston, La. for a game against Louisiana Tech.

Utah State: The Aggies started out quickly, rushing to a 14-0 lead early on before falling 31-21 against Fresno State. Once again it was USU's inability to close out the game and in this particular case it was the entire second half.

Chuckie Keeton started strong early in the game, completing several deep passes to his receivers. He finished the night completing 16 of 31 passes for 194 yards and one touchdown. He remains the only quarterback in FBS college football to have not thrown an interception this season.

Robert Turbin pounded out another solid performance as he ran 16 times for 155 yards and one touchdown. Fellow running back Michael Smith rushed eight times for 71 yards and a touchdown while also catching two passes 52 yards and a score.

Travis Van Leeuwen led all receivers with two catches for 60 yards for the Aggies.

Even with the loss, the Aggies offense churned out 453 yards total while limiting Fresno State to 403 yards. Penalties killed Utah State as they were flagged 11 times for 118 yards, including several defensive pass interference calls.

Turbin was given an honorable mention for WAC Offensive Player of the Week while safety McKade Brady received an honorable mention for WAC Defensive Player of the Week. Junior punter Tyler Bennett collected an honorable mention for WAC Special Teams Player of the Week as well.

The Utah State run game is near the top of the national leaderboard at 298.8 yards per game, which ranks 6th overall. The passing game ranks 98th overall at 177.2 yards per game, even if the stats may not tell the whole story as Keeton leads the WAC in quarterback efficiency. The Aggies' offense is 18th best in the nation, scoring 39.0 points per game, while the defense ranks near the middle of the pack at 28.5 points against per game, which ranks 77th nationally.

Utah State's record falls to 2-4 with the loss against the Bulldogs. The Aggies have beaten Wyoming and FCS Weber State with the losses against Fresno State, Auburn, Colorado State, and BYU. USU will return home this week for a critical WAC conference matchup against Louisiana Tech.

Email: onlinesports@ksl.com

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Matt Harris

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