<strong>LOGAN—</strong> The Chuckie Keeton show continued its Western Athletic Conference tour Saturday as he accounted for five first half Utah State touchdowns as the Aggies rolled to their fourth straight blowout victory, 38-7, over Texas State.
USU scored on its first possession of the game, picked off Texas State in the end zone to thwart a Bobcat scoring drive, and racked up 332 yards of offense and 35 points in the first half.
“The game was very well played on both sides of the ball. Our defense once again went out there and played hard throughout the entire game and showed why they are so highly ranked,” USU running back Kerwynn Williams said. “I felt that on offense we played consistent through the first three quarters, but we need to step it up a little bit in the fourth.”
The win sets up a showdown for what will likely be a defacto conference championship game when the Aggies travel to Ruston, La. to take on ranked Louisiana Tech on Nov. 17 following USU’s bye week.
Utah State didn’t quite light up the scoreboard in the second half, adding only one 48-yard Nick Diaz field goal, but the Aggies were still dominant as they held the Bobcats to only 158 yards of total offense, while putting up a season-high 593.
Kerwynn Williams had another big game for the Aggies as he rushed for 120 yards on 19 carries. The total gave him more than 1,000 yards on the season as Williams became just the 11th player in Utah State history to do so. Williams has a chance to eclipse 2,000 yards of total offense on the season, as he has also hauled in 35 passes for 499 yards on the season.
“I can’t say enough about him and what he has meant for this program,” USU head coach Gary Andersen said. “One thousand yards is a great thing, and the way he has handled his time here – he is a tremendous leader, a tremendous teammate, and a tremendous player. My hat goes off to him. I am very happy he could get that 1,000 yards at home.”
The Aggies got things going early as a short kickoff and then a penalty on the Bobcats gave USU great field position at its own 49 yard line to start the game. Six plays later, Keeton connected with Travis Reynolds from four yards out – Reynolds first TD of the season – to put USU up 7-0.
Unfazed, Texas State moved the ball down to the Utah State seven yard line where the Bobcats faced a third down and need four yards to pick up the first. Quarterback Shaun Rutherford tried to lob it to the corner, but USU cornerback Willie Davis made an acrobatic over-the-shoulder catch to give the ball back to the Aggies. It was Davis’s third interception in as many games.
From that point, it was pretty much all Utah State.
Keeton connected on multiple passes of 60-plus yards, including ones to Matt Austin and Chuck Jacobs that set up touchdown passes of two yards and (to Kellen Bartlett) and four yards (to Austin). Keeton also ran one in from three yards out, his fourth rushing score of the year, after Williams scampered 60 yards to set up that score.
Meanwhile, after allowing the Bobcats to march down the field on that first possession, the USU defense stepped up and shut down Texas State’s option attack. The Bobcat quarterbacks were sacked three times, and the Bobcats only mustered 82 yards rushing and 76 yards passing – for the game.
“For the most part, I felt like our defense played really solid,” defensive end Jordan Nielsen said. “We came out and our first drive we started out a little bit slow, but once we just stepped it up, we were solid for the rest of the game. We just trusted each other and hustled to the ball and people made plays.”
The Aggies probably would have pitched their first shutout of the season, however, Keeton was picked off early in the third quarter to set the Bobcats up at the USU six. Two plays later, Marcus Curry took the ball in from three yards out to put Texas State on the board.
Including that scoring drive for Texas State, the Bobcats only ran three plays in Aggie territory following their opening drive.
Utah State (8-2, 4-0) – with its first 8-win season since 1974 – will now have two weeks to prepare for its next game, on the road at Louisiana Tech. The Bulldogs are 8-1 (3-0) on the season, and undefeated in conference play.
“I think (the bye week) is coming at the right time, considering who we’re playing next. This is a big game – this next game could potentially be the WAC championship game,” Williams said. “I know it might be a little bit early for that, but this could definitely take us to the next step in accomplishing our goals of being the WAC champions this season. I think that this extra time will be well utilized to study film and know who our opponent is.”