Utah State rolls to 35-13 Homecoming win over UNLV

<strong>LOGAN—</strong> Chuckie Keeton passed for 402 yards and four touchdowns and Kerwynn Williams racked up 260 yards of total offense as Utah State rolled past future conference foe UNLV for a 35-13 Homecoming win.

“I want to start off by saying the crowd was awesome and the fans were vocal … it was just a tremendous environment,” USU head coach Gary Andersen said. “The whiteout was great. The people came and supported the kids, and it was great to see it full. So I want to thank you. It’s important to the kids, it’s important to all of us. That’s a big time division one atmosphere and its great to see.”

Despite going scoreless in the first quarter and trailing in the first half for the first time this season, the Aggies poured in 20 second-quarter points to take a 20-7 lead into the intermission.

The Aggies took the lead for good on a 1-yard TD pass from Keeton to tight end D.J. Tialavea midway through the second quarter. However, USU’s all white-clad crowd really got rocking when Keeton connected with Chuck Jacobs on a 50-yard bomb with 5:25 remaining in the first half.

Jacobs hauled in the pass around the 25 yard line, shook off a couple of defenders, and then sprinted into the end zone for the score. He finished the game with four catches for 101 yards and two scores.

As impressive as the USU offense was – rolling up 564 yards of total offense – it was the Aggie defense, ranked 11th in the country coming into Saturday’s game that anchored Utah State once again. UNLV was held to only 305 yards of total offense, and mustered only two field goals after the Rebels early TD.

USU’s defensive effort was doubly impressive, because for the second straight game the Aggie offense sputtered in the third quarter and turned it over on its first two possessions of the second half. UNLV was only able to put six points on the board though, courtesy of two field goals, and never got closer than 20-13.

“I thought the defense was solid. This is a good running and play action team. The defense bowed up especially with the turnovers. I thought that we were stout,” Andersen said.

As soon as the third quarter ended, however, the Aggies erupted. On third and nine form their own 26 yard line, Keeton hit Williams on a screen pass that turned into a 74-yard touchdown. From that point on, it was all Utah State, as the Aggies scored 15 points in the fourth quarter to finish off the Rebels.The final points of the game came on a safety when linebackers Jake Doughty and Kyler Fackrell stuffed UNLV running back Tim Cornett in the end zone for a safety.

Williams – a Las Vegas native – caught a career-high seven receptions for a career-high 147 yards and one touchdown. He also rushed the ball 20 times for 113 yards. The 147 receiving yards was the most by a non-receiver for USU since 1959. 

“The offensive line had an amazing game. They gave me a lot of time and opened up some huge holes for Kerwynn, Robert Marshall and Joe Hill,” Keeton said. “Our wideouts, running backs, and tight ends made some huge plays, and they are the real heroes. If we keep this up we should be able to carry this momentum into the next game.”

Now 4-1, USU’s best start since 1978, the Aggies have a short week to prepare before hitting the road to take on in-state rival BYU in a Friday night game on ESPN. The Aggies and Cougars have split the last two games, with BYU winning on a last second touchdown in Provo last season.

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