Utah State football ranks fourth in the nation in rushing defense

LOGAN, Utah – Three weeks into the 2014 college football season, Utah State ranks among the top 35 teams in the nation in 11 different statistical categories, including ranking fourth in the nation in rushing defense.

Defensively, Utah State is allowing just 62.3 rushing yards per game to rank second in the Mountain West and fourth in the nation. USU also ranks first in the MW and 31st nationally in passing efficiency defense (112.6), first in the MW and 39th in the nation in total defense (341.0 ypg), second in the MW and tied for 21st in the nation in sacks (3.0 pg), seventh in the MW in passing defense (278.7 ypg), and eighth in the MW and 79th nationally in scoring defense (27.3 ppg).

Furthermore, Utah State’s defense ranks first in the Mountain West and 18th in the nation as its opponents are converting only 28.6 percent of its third downs into first downs (14-49). USU also ranks second in the MW and fifth in the nation with an average of 9.3 tackles for loss per game, second in the MW and sixth nationally with its five interceptions, and second in the MW and 18th nationally with its seven forced turnovers.

Offensively, Utah State ranks fifth in the Mountain West and tied for 80th in the nation in scoring with 27.7 points per game. USU also ranks tied for fifth in the MW and tied for 37th in the nation in sacks allowed (1.33 pg), seventh in the MW and 73rd nationally in rushing offense (157.0 ypg), ninth in the MW in completion percentage (.578), 10th in the MW in passing offense (197.0 ypg), 10th in the MW in passing efficiency (106.3) and 11th in the MW in total offense (354.0 ypg).

On special teams, Utah State ranks second in the Mountain West and 10th nationally in punt return defense (0.00 ypr) and second in the MW and 21st in the nation in kickoff return defense (16.50 ypr). USU ranks fourth in the MW and 60th nationally in punt returns (8.6 ypr), sixth in the MW and 43rd in the nation in net punting (39.5 ypk), and sixth in the MW and tied for 65th in the nation in kickoff returns (20.3 ypr).

Utah State also ranks tied for fifth in the Mountain West and tied for 75th in the nation in turnover margin (-0.33 pg).

Utah State players who rank among the statistical leaders in the Mountain West and in the nation includes junior WR/PR JoJo Natson who ranks tied for first in the nation with one punt return for touchdown, second in the Mountain West and 15th in the nation in punt return average (16.0 ypr), and sixth in the MW and 67th in the nation in all-purpose yards (120.0 pg). Senior DE B.J. Larsen ranks tied for first in the MW and tied for 11th in the nation in tackles for loss (2.0 pg), and tied for first in the MW and tied for 28th nationally in sacks (1.0 pg). Freshman CB Jalen Davis ranks tied for first in the MW and tied for 21st in the nation with his two interceptions, and is tied for third in the MW and tied for 45th in the nation in passes defended (1.33 pg). Sophomore LB Nick Vigil ranks tied for second in the MW and tied for 22nd in the nation in tackles (10.7 pg), tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 38th in the nation in tackles for loss (1.5 pg), tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 80th in the nation in sacks (0.67 pg), and tied for fifth in the MW and tied for 91st in the nation in fumbles forced (0.33 pg). Sophomore S Devin Centers ranks tied for third in the MW and tied for 14th in the nation in fumbles recovered (0.33 pg), tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 80th in the nation in sacks (0.67 pg), and tied for 12th in the MW in tackles (7.7 pg). Junior LB Torrey Green ranks tied for third in the MW and tied for 14th in the nation in fumbles recovered (0.33 pg), tied for fifth in the MW and tied for 91st in the nation in fumbles forced (0.33 pg), and tied for seventh in the MW and tied for 62nd in the nation in tackles for loss (1.33 pg). Junior CB Bryant Hayes ranks tied for second in the MW and tied for 30th in the nation in passes defended (1.5 pg). Senior CB Rashard Stewart ranks tied for sixth in the MW in passes defended (1.0 pg). Senior FS Brian Suite ranks tied for sixth in the MW in passes defended (1.0 pg), tied for seventh in the MW and tied for 93rd nationally in interceptions (0.33 pg), and tied for 34th in the MW in tackles (5.7 pg). Senior LB Zach Vigil ranks tied for seventh in the MW and tied for 93rd nationally in interceptions (0.33 pg), and tied for 12th in the MW in tackles (7.7 pg). Senior SS Frankie Sutera ranks tied for fifth in the MW and tied for 91st in the nation in fumbles forced (0.33 pg), and tied for seventh in the MW and tied for 93rd nationally in interceptions (0.33 pg). Junior LB LT Filiaga ranks tied for 39th in the MW in tackles (5.3 pg). Senior QB Chuckie Keeton ranks ninth in the MW and 93rd in the nation in completion percentage (.554) and 10th in the MW in passing efficiency (92.8). Sophomore RB Kennedy Williams ranks sixth in the MW and 71st nationally in kickoff return average (20.9 ypr). Senior P Jaron Bentrude ranks eighth in the MW and 61st in the nation in punting (40.5 ypk). And senior PK Nick Diaz ranks tied for fifth in the MW and tied for 41st in the nation in field goal percentage (.750), tied for fifth in the MW and tied for 55th in the nation in field goals (1.0 pg), and eighth in the MW in scoring among kickers (5.7).

Utah State (2-1, 0-0 MW) plays at Arkansas State (1-2, 0-0 Sun Belt) this weekend in its second road game of the season on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 5 p.m. (MT). The game will be streamed live on ESPN3. USU is 3-2 all-time against the Red Wolves, including a 0-2 road record.

For Aggie football ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the “Buy Tickets” tab at www.UtahStateAggies.com. By purchasing your bowl game tickets through USU you help us meet our bowl game commitment.

Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on Facebook at Utah State Football, as well as on Instagram at instagram.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

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