SALT LAKE CITY — After opening the 2019 season with a loss to Wake Forest, Utah State football still has some really important things to take back to Logan.
Though the outcome was surely not what the Aggies hoped for, there are a few things from the game that can bring them comfort going into the next few months of football, especially conference matchups in three weeks.
A blessing at RB
Jaylen Warren is a force for future opponents to reckon with. He accounted for 141 of Utah State’s total 180 rushing yards in the game. The Aggies have Snow College to thank for this workhorse at running back.
Warren is one to watch this season and is a huge reason why quarterback Jordan Love was so confident in his offense.
The human side of Love
Love is still human, and like any quarterback he needs protection. The offensive line is the only part of this Utah State team that noticeably wavered, specifically in the third quarter when things got shaky. Offensive line coach TJ Woods has his work cut out for him.
Love, who only threw six total interceptions in all of 2018, threw three Friday night. That’s not to discount his quick thinking in the pocket or his precision, the junior still had three touchdowns and completed 68.8% of his passes for 416 yards.
Receivers making plays
There are a lot of great things happening with the receivers, old and new.
Returners accounted for 221 of the total 416 passing yards of the game, which means those spots left open during the offseason have now been filled with new guys stepping up to prove themselves.
It’s important to note here that Utah transfer Siaosi Mariner was responsible for 118 of those passing yards and was the team’s leading receiver.
Penalties halting progress
Although Friday’s game had a scary amount of congruence with last year’s Michigan State matchup, this was a different and, perhaps, more talented team than the Aggies saw last August.
The rushing game has improved from just 25 rushing yards against Michigan State’s 165, to Utah State outrushing Wake Forest 180-178.
There’s more options in this year’s squad, but the penalties killed a young-looking Aggies team with a lot of new faces. It makes sense that the first game of the season would bring out those jitters. But even with all the talent of this year’s team and the quarterback that leads them, penalties — like the eight they had Friday for a total of 84 yards — will get them every time.
Here’s looking to the next week for the Aggies where those jitters may be out of the team’s system in time for the home opener against Stony Brook. Follow on Twitter at @sportspaige94 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.