Aggies get first WAC win, take out La. Tech

The Utah State Aggies (2-5 overall, 1-2 WAC) got the game to the 4th quarter and then held on for dear life to beat the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (3-4 overall, 2-2 WAC) on Saturday afternoon at Romney Stadium. USU head coach Gary Andersen notched his first career victory over an NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision team b y a score of 23-21. The win was also the first time Utah State has beaten Louisiana Tech as a member of the Western Athletic Conference as it snapped a four game losing streak to the Bulldogs from Ruston, Louisiana. The Aggies built a lead of 23-7 entering the 3rd quarter behind a solid ball control offense and an impenetrable defense that held Louisiana Tech to only 108 yards of total offense entering the 4th. However, the Bulldogs came storming back to make the game exciting in the final fifteen minutes. Louisiana Tech opened up the playbook and successfully executed a flea-flicker for the Bulldogs first offensive score of the game. Quarterback Ross Jenkins connected with R.P. Stuart on the trick play and cut Utah State’s lead to 23-15 after converting the two point conversion. Then with just over six minutes remaining Jenkins and Tech struck again with a 20 yard touchdown pass to Dennis Morris. This time the conversion failed leaving the score at 23-21. USU opened up the scoring with a 41 yard touchdown pass from Diondre Borel to Stanley Morrison. It was Borel’s tenth touchdown pass of the season. The junior quarterback came into play today leading the WAC in touchdown to interception ratio; he has thrown just one inteception on the season. The ensuing kickoff was fumbled by Louisiana Tech return man Lyle Fitte and recovered by USU’s Chris Williams. This set up a 28 yard field goal by Chris Ulinski which increased the Aggie lead to 10-0. Electrifying kick returner Phillip Livas then returned the kickoff 100 plus yards to put Louisiana Tech on the board. Along with cutting the lead to 10-7 the kickoff marked Livas’ sixth touchdown return (punt and kickoff) of his career making him Louisiana Tech’s all-time leader in this category. Utah State’s special teams also put points on the board for the Aggies. Kicker Chris Ulinski was accountable for 9 USU points connecting on all three of his field goal attempts. The Utah State rushing game rebounded from a tough week last week vs. Nevada. Robert Turbin, the second leading rusher in the WAC coming into the week, led the way with 95 yards on 22 carries. Derrvin Speight also contributed with a 44 yard touchdown run in the middle of the second quarter that stretched the Aggie lead to 17-7. The Aggie defense stopped the run well holding Tech running back Daniel Porter to 75 yards. Porter entered the game as the conference’s fourth leading rusher. The defense did this despite losing key players to injury throughout the game. When asked about the injuries USU defensive coordinator Bill Busch said: “We battled back. The best safety in the WAC is James Brindley. He was lost in our first series. We had guys come in and play that have never played in a college football game in a defensive setting before. We had to move a linebacker to strong safety; Joey Schrader did that. At the end of the game, we had four or five guys filling in that did a heck of a job. We had a chance to make some big plays and we did.” With the clock at 1:31 remaining in the game the Utah State defense came up big stopping a fourth down play to lock up the win. Utah State travels to Fresno, California next week to face the Fresno State Bulldogs in a Halloween Showdown. Last season Fresno State escaped Logan with two point win on a 58 yard field goal as time expired.

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