Utah State beats New Mexico St. 27-22 in Aggie Bowl 2010

After another slow start, the Utah State University Aggies picked up steam on the back of their defense, the legs of Derrvin Speight and on some heads up plays on special teams from Kerwynn Williams. USU defeated the New Mexico State Aggies 27-22 in Romney Stadium Saturday afternoon in Aggie Bowl 2010. On the day, Diondre climbed USU’s career passing charts with his 110 yards passing, moving into the number two spot trailing only Jose Fuentes. It was also a career day for Speight, running for 114 yards on 19 carries and one touchdown. It was the first time Speight surpassed the 100 yard mark running the football as an Aggie. “(It) definitely feels great,” Speight said of achieving his rushing mark and of the team’s first WAC win of the season. “We’ve been working hard this whole season. It hasn’t gone the way we want it to but we’re not quitters. To get that win over a team we lost to last year feels really good.” New Mexico State got off to a hot start Saturday, putting together two touchdowns in the first quarter on efficient drives. The USU offense only managed 69 yards in the first quarter, compared to NMSU’s 190. The NewMags’ running game netted 127 of those yards as USU was unable to stop the run. The situation seemed to get worse as, on USU’s first offensive series of the day, USU tight end Kellen Bartlett caught a short pass, was tackled hard and didn’t get back up. As he rolled over on the ground it was clear his right arm didn’t look like it should. Athletic trainers quickly ran to his aid and popped his right elbow back into its socket. Bartlett left the game for good and following the game USU head coach Gary Andersen was unsure of the seriousness of Bartlett’s injury. The tables turned, slightly, in USU’s favor on an explosive kickoff return by Williams. “They squib kicked it so I had to wait for the ball to come up to me,” Williams said of his 84 yard return. “I just waited for it and there was good blocking by the team. I made one guy miss and made it around the corner.” Williams advanced the ball to the 10 yard line, setting up Speight’s two yard touchdown run as the clock expired for the first quarter. Williams tallied 230 all-purpose yards, most of them on kickoff returns. “I think that Kerwynn’s kick-off returns were enormous to give us field position and our team momentum,” USU head coach Gary Andersen said. The USU defense seemed to gain the most from Williams’ first quarter kick off return, holding New Mexico St. to only 11 yards rushing in the second quarter, seven yards rushing in the third, and only 10 in the fourth. The Aggie defense was also able to apply more pressure to NMSU’s quarterback Matt Christian, sacking him twice (once by Levi Koskan and once by Quinn Garner). Linebacker Bobby Wagner led the defense with 17 tackles. Special teams also improved as the game wore on. Besides Williams’ big kickoff return at the end of the first quarter, he later added a 68 yard return which set up another touchdown. A New Mexico St. face mask penalty added to Williams’ yards, bringing the ball all the way up to the 12 yard line. On the very next play Borel rolled out to the right on an option play, pitching the ball to Eric Moats who dove for the endzone, giving Utah State the lead for the first and last time. Kicker Peter Caldwell kicked the ball about as good as he has all season, hitting a 44 yard field goal in the second quarter and a 24 yarder in the fourth which lengthened the lead. He also averaged 44 yards a punt, his longest going for 54. The game concluded with Utah State opting to have Borel run the ball back into the endzone, chewing up the remaining seconds on the clock, and take a safety rather than punt the ball away and risk a New Mexico State return. “Offensively we just found a way to get it done,” Andersen said, “which is what I would say about the whole football team. They just all found a way to get it done.” USU next turns its attention toward a struggling San Jose State team who Coach A says people shouldn’t take lightly. “San Jose State is going to be excited,” Andersen said of the Spartans. “They had a bye week. They need wins. We beat them last year. They’ll be at home and want to get a win.” NOTES — Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson and Jacksonville Jaguars’ Mike Sims-Walker were spotted on the New Mexico State sideline. It has been reported that Johnson is good friends with New Mexico State running back Kenny Turner. Utah State recognized one of the best overall performances by an NCAA football player ever, honoring Emmett White on the 10th anniversary of his record-breaking 578 all-purpose yards against New Mexico State on November 4, 2000.

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