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Defense wins championships, and conference openers for Utah State

By Paige Mendez, | Posted - Sep. 22, 2019 at 1:34 p.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State football team, like any other football team, you saw Saturday night was comprised of a defense, offense and special teams.

It’s usually easy to see which of these three carries the team to victory, but in case you missed it against Utah State's 23-17 victory over San Diego State, I’m just going to spell it out for you.

The only touchdown for either team in the first quarter was scored by Shaq Bond, the Utah State safety, who, thanks to the pressure his linemen put on the quarterback, caught an interception for a pick-six touchdown to give the Aggies their first cushion of the game.

Those linemen, led by the seemingly fearless Tipa Galeai, combined for 46 of the defense’s 79 total tackles in the game. They also pressured San Diego State quarterback Ryan Agnew enough in the final minutes of the game to bring his total rushing yards down to -32 yards.

The defense was on the field for approximately 14 minutes longer than the offense and had four sacks for a total of 58 yards taken from San Diego State’s offense.

This is not to take away from Utah State quarterback Jordan Love’s 293 passing yards or Jaylen Warren’s 74 rushing yards for a touchdown, but the win here, in major part, was due to the relentless defense of the Utah State squad.

And while Saturday's game wasn't a championship — so anyone reading this who wants evidence behind the old “defense wins championships” cliche is out of luck — but any Aggie fan can tell you San Diego State has been a barrier for the championship for many years.

Knowing this year’s Aggies lineup could take the Aztecs down on the road is a huge confidence builder for Utah State's hopes of a conference championship.

It’s only the first week of conference play, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say if the Aggies can take the offensive performances from games like Stony Brook and even Wake Forest and combine it with Saturday’s defense, you are looking at the Top 15 team in the nation by the time the end of November rolls around.

Paige Mendez

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