LOGAN – Utah State survived a second-half Arkansas State rally to pick up its second win of the season. The victory put the Aggies at 2-1 on the season while Arkansas State fell to 0-3.
“I’m proud of our guys for finding ways to win,” head coach Matt Wells said. “That is something we can build off of, we can get confidence off of.”
The Aggies built a 24-0 halftime lead, but struggled throughout the second half. As the game neared an end, the Red Wolves had cut the deficit to a single touchdown.
That is when the Aggie offense came alive again.
What followed was a Tonny Lindsey touchdown at the end of a 13-play, 91-yard drive near the end of the game to seal the Aggie victory. Head coach Matt Wells said his offense’s final drive has been the most meaningful of the year.
“That whole last drive,” he said. “That was some good football.
“We should build off that and have confidence going into Mountain West play beginning next week.”
There were many factors that made the drive so exceptional, but a big part of it was the fact the Aggies faced third down twice. On both occasions quarterback Kent Myers used his feet and his good judgement to keep the drive alive. The first was a 30-yard quarterback rush on third-and-8 and the second was a similar 20-yard scramble on third-and-11.
“Coach Wells just trusted the ball in my hands in that situation and I wanted to make a big play for my team,” Myers said. “I felt like I hadn’t done enough this game, as much as I though I would. That put a bit of a chip on my shoulder, so I just went out and got the first down.”
Myers finished the game completing 11-of-25 passes for 92 yards. Lindsey led the team in rushing with 106 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns.
The Aggie offense was able to capitalize off of good starting field position early on. The first points came after Arkansas State quarterback Chad Voytik fumbled the ball inside his own 10. Myers completed a short touchdown pass to Ronquavion Tarver three plays later. Then, after a 38-yard Brock Warren field goal later in the quarter, the Aggies again found the endzone when a Jontrell Roquemore pick gave USU the ball on the Red Wolves’ 25. Myers took advantage of the short field and ran for 19 yards, but it was quarterback Damion Hobbs that rushed into the endzone a few plays after.
Lindsey got his first touchdown of the night when he followed up his own 12-yard reception with a 28-yard touchdown run the very next play. The touchdown put USU up 24-nothing at half, but Arkansas State scored the next 14 points on its first two second-half posessions.
“They got their pass game going a little bit in the second half and we have some stuff to clean up,” senior linebacker Brock Carmen said. “But overall I thought the defense had a good showing.”
USU finally scored again when a 68-yard Rayshad Lewis reception set up a 30-yard field goal, but Arkansas State followed it up two field goals of its own, one from 23 yards out and the other from 30.
The Red Wolves finished the game with 357 offensive yards to Utah State’s 334, but Arkansas State’s 18 penalties for 129 yards proved damaging.
Utah State will begin conference play next week at 8:30 p.m. at home against Air Force.