Defense leading the way for USU in 2012

<strong>FORT COLLINS, Colo.—</strong> Make that four straight games that the Utah State Aggie defense has come up big – especially in the first two quarters of a game. After a 31-19 road victory over the Colorado State Rams, the Aggies have outscored their opponents 51-0 in the first quarter and 65-9 in first half during the 2012 season.

In the first half of Saturday’s game, the Rams had accumulated 61 yards of total offense during the first 30 minutes of action, compared to USU’s 288.

“That’s been our MO all season and we’re going to keep that going as a defense,” USU linebacker Zach Vigil said. “That’s huge for us and we have a lot of enthusiasm on defense and we need to keep that.”

The sophomore had another stellar game, with seven tackles – three tackles for a loss – and two sacks. Senior safety McKade Brady led the Aggies with 10 tackles and senior corner back Willie Davis had three pass break ups and four tackles – Davis also dropped an interception that would have been six points for the USU defense.

“I’d like to apologize to Aggie Nation for all the picks I owe you guys. It’s not like I don’t have hands. I don’t want y’all thinking that,” Davis said. “As far as the game went, we got a win, so I’m pretty excited. The defense, we played excellent. Toward the end we got a little lackadaisical. We kind of knew we got a win and that’s not what we should be doing. I think we let some touchdowns slip away.”

USU scratched out the road victory despite losing the turnover battle, which has been a point of concern thus far.

Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton doubled his season interception total with ill-advised passes on back-to-back possessions. Despite the favorable field position for Colorado State, the Aggie defense limited the Rams to field goals on each possession.

“That’s obviously huge for us as a defense,” Vigil said of the defensive stands. “Anytime you can keep them out of the end zone when there is big play like that on their side of the ball, that’s huge for us. We’ve got to continue to do that if we’re going to win football games this year.”

Senior wide receiver Matt Austin committed the first turnover of the game, as he was stripped fighting for the goal line on a score that would have given USU a 24-0 advantage at the break.

“It’s definitely frustrating to turn the ball over three times,” USU running back Kerwynn Williams said. “We can’t do that as an offense. It puts our defense in a bad position. It gives them a short field for their offense to work with, and it’s just all bad.

“Our defense is good. They bow up every time they are put into a situation with their backs against the wall. Every time we turned the ball over, they didn’t score a touchdown, so our defense did a good job of stopping them in that aspect and keeping the game going in our favor.”

Despite the overall performance from USU defensively, the Aggies feel there is still room for improvement on the defensive side of the ball in preparation for their Homecoming game against UNLV.

“(Saturday) we were a little dead and I didn’t like that at all,” Vigil said. “It was too dead for what I normally like. We’re definitely going to have to go back and look at film to get ready for UNLV next week.”

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