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Utah State's run game went incognito and cost the Aggies big against BYU

Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Max Tooley (31) tackles Utah State Aggies running back John Gentry (2) in Logan on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021.

Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Max Tooley (31) tackles Utah State Aggies running back John Gentry (2) in Logan on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY β€” For the second week in a row, Utah State was outmatched.

The Aggies dropped to 3-2 following a 34-20 loss in an in-state battle for the Old Wagon Wheel against BYU. The Cougars came into Logan and dictated much of the tempo as they outgained the Aggies by more than 100 total yards and held them to just 22 yards rushing.

Overall, Utah State's inability to match BYU's offensive production, especially on the ground, cost them the game as they conceded an early lead and were unable to dig themselves out of the hole.

The run game was non-existent and the Aggies lost the battle at the line of scrimmage

BYU's defense locked down the Utah State run game Friday night, holding the Aggies to their lowest rushing total since 2019. Coming into the matchup, the Aggies averaged 213.5 yards per game on the ground and produced a minimum of 100 yards in 16 straight contests.

Despite the Aggies' solid production through the first four games, BYU created havoc constantly throughout the night, often sniffing out the plays before they began and closing off every potential gap.

Perhaps the play that best demonstrates the struggle Utah State had was a fourth-and-1 from the BYU 33-yard line. Trailing by just 11 points, the Aggies attempted to make it a one-score game midway through the third quarter, with just 1 yard needed to continue its drive. In that moment, they put the ball in the hands of John Gentry who was immediately met by two Cougars at the line of scrimmage β€” turnover on downs.

On the ensuing drive, BYU tacked on 3 more points to make it a 14-point game.

Overall, BYU finished with nine tackles for loss, resulting in 54 yards lost. Most notably, the leading rusher from the Aggies' running back room was Gentry, who ended the night with 8 total yards.

Allgeier had a field day and the Utah State defense allowed too many big plays

For anyone who doubted the legitimate talent of Allgeier coming into the season, they've been proven wrong time and again as the sophomore from California might just be one of the best in the country.

Utah State's defense experienced this first hand as Allgeier finished the night with 218 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. Time after time, Allgeier plowed through defenders as his 220-pound frame proved impossible to tackle.

His longest rush of the night came when he exploded through a gap on the left side, side stepped a defender to avoid being tackled at the first down marker, stepped back right to find a block and cruised 67 yards for a touchdown. While this wasn't the last time Allgeier burned the defense, it was also just one of many big plays the Aggies would concede to the Cougars.

In addition to Allgeier, the BYU offense posted a total of 446 yards on the night, with an average of 7.2 yards per play. Even though the run game was where BYU hurt Utah State the most, the passing game was also a major tool of the offense as three receivers finished with more than 40 yards. Three receivers posted game-long receptions of 42, 24 and 15 yards.

Utah State's passing game had a respectable performance despite the team's struggles

Regardless of the team's struggles, quarterback Logan Bonner and the receiving room still had a respectable night. For the game, they finished with 276 yards and two touchdowns on 21 competitions.

Even though Bonner did throw an interception early on and was forced to leave another game due to injury, he had a decent night against a top 15 defense. Perhaps what was most impressive and has been one of his greatest attributes to this point in the season is Bonner's ability to thread the needle on passes and quickly move the football.

Toward the end of their first touchdown drive, Bonner had to work quickly and effectively to find his receivers and pick up 6 points. Just one play before the eventual touchdown pass, Bonner found Derek Wright streaking across the middle in between two BYU defenders. Not only did Wright have a Cougar on his back, but defensive back Chaz Ah You figured out the play and tried to cut him off from in front. Impressively, Bonner fired a bullet right between the narrow window and completed it to Wright at the BYU 20-yard line.

On the ensuing play, Bonner was forced to scramble with two Cougars players quickly closing in. After evading the pressure, Bonner floated a pass to Justin McGriff in the front left corner of the end zone for a touchdown. Not only did Bonner find McGriff inbounds, but it was an impressive thrown behind two BYU defenders and away from the safety who was behind McGriff.

Deven Thompkins finished the night with 125 yards and a touchdown on nine receptions in another strong performance for the receiver.

Bonner remains a formidable quarterback and has shown time and again that he can not only move the ball but can do it quickly and effectively. If the running game had been on par with the team's season averages, the game would have been much closer and Utah State could have given the Cougars a true run for their money.

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