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Game day grades: Utah State at Idaho

Game day grades: Utah State at Idaho

By Matt Harris, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Nov. 19, 2011 at 9:40 p.m.



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MOSCOW, Idaho -- The Utah State Aggies were looking for their third straight victory and also looking to keep their bowl hopes alive on Saturday against the Idaho Vandals. The Aggies dug deep and pulled out a 49-42 double-overtime victory to mark their first three-game win streak since 2001.

With the victory, Utah State moves to 5-5 on the season, needing only one more win to get to their first bowl game since 1997. Their five wins are the most since 2000.

Here are this week's Game Day Grades:

Quarterbacks: B+
Adam Kennedy completed 13 of 18 passes for 182 yards and two touchdowns with one interception on the day. He also rushed seven times for 39 yards. Kennedy was sacked a couple of times and also threw an interception which was returned for a touchdown. However, he somehow brought the Aggies back and kept his poise late in the game.

Running Backs/Full Backs: A-
What can you say about the rushing attack for the Aggies? 310 total yards on the ground and five touchdowns say it all. Robert Turbin had a monster day, rushing 24 times for 208 yards and three touchdowns. Michael Smith had 15 carries for 58 yards and two touchdowns. The run game continues to be a huge strength to the Aggies. However, a fumble from Turbin in the final minutes nearly cost USU the game.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B+
The receiving corps continues to show their skills as the passing game has opened up more. Stanley Morrison had three catches for 83 yards and a touchdown, including a 63-yard bomb. Travis Van Leeuwen also caught three passes for 40 yards and a score. Matt Austin had three receptions for 26 yards. Chuck Jacobs did have a fumble lost in the 3rd quarter as the fumble woes continued for the Aggies.

Offensive Line: B
They did a great job opening up holes for Robert Turbin and the run game. However, at times they struggled to keep Kennedy upright and made it look like the Idaho defense was much better than they were. But, the line got the job done in the clutch.

Overall Offense: A-
Anytime you put up 49 points on the board, you know you have had a good game offensively. There were some miscues on the part of the offensive line and also Adam Kennedy on the pick-six. But in the end, the offense did what they needed to do to win the game, especially by converting big plays in overtime.

Defensive Line: C
The Idaho offensive front abused the Utah State defensive line at times, giving Vandals quarterback Brian Reader and running back Kama Bailey plenty of time and room to work all game long. The line must improve in a hurry if the Aggies want to play in a bowl game.

Linebackers: C+
Bobby Wagner made the biggest play of the season to date with his last-second interception at the goal line in overtime. But prior to that, the Vandals were running the linebackers ragged with their passing. Idaho's strength is NOT their passing by any means, but they made Brian Reader look really good by missing coverage on the underneath and short routes across the middle.

Defensive Backs: D
The defensive backs had the same problem the linebackers had in coverage: they couldn't cover anyone. This continues to be a season-long problem for the secondary and they need to tighten up their coverage and work on the fundamentals if they want to help out the defense.

Overall Defense: C-It's not often that you win with a C-grade defense. But the Aggies were able to come up with the big plays when they needed them to pull out the victory. Once again, it seemed as if the different parts of the defense weren't working together all at the same time.

Special Teams: B+The special teams did a decent job on Saturday. Josh Thompson was 7-for-7 on extra point attempts. Kerwynn Williams and Chuck Jacobs did a good job returning the football on kickoffs while both Tyler Bennett and Stanley Morrison did excellent work in the punting game. Williams did have a crucial fumble on a punt return which was recovered by Idaho.

Overall Team: C
The team just couldn't function as one against the worst team in the WAC conference, but somehow the Aggies were able to pull out the victory. Game balls go to Robert Turbin and Bobby Wagner for their work. Idaho proves once again that the Kibbie Dome is a tough place to play. The Aggies will face Nevada on Nov. 26 at Romney Stadium in Logan.

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Matt Harris

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