Utah State football ranks tied for seventh in the nation in rushing defense

LOGAN, Utah – Four weeks into the 2014 college football season, Utah State ranks among the top 45 teams in the nation in 13 different statistical categories, including ranking tied for seventh in the nation in rushing defense.

Defensively, Utah State is allowing just 78.2 rushing yards per game to rank third in the Mountain West and tied for seventh in the nation. USU also ranks first in the MW and 32nd in the nation in total defense (334.8 ypg), second in the MW and 22nd in the nation in sacks (3.25 pg), second in the MW and 31st nationally in passing efficiency defense (112.0), sixth in the MW and 89th nationally in passing defense (256.5 ypg), and eighth in the MW and tied for 77th nationally in scoring defense (25.8 ppg).

Furthermore, Utah State’s defense ranks second in the Mountain West and tied for 32nd in the nation in opponents third down conversions at 31.8 percent (21-66). USU also ranks first in the MW and fourth in the nation with an average of 9.5 tackles for loss per game, second in the MW and eighth nationally with its six interceptions, and first in the MW and sixth nationally with its 11 forced turnovers thus far this year.

Offensively, Utah State ranks seventh in the Mountain West and tied for 88th in the nation in scoring with 24.2 points per game. USU also ranks tied for sixth in the MW and tied for 58th in the nation in sacks allowed (1.75 pg), eighth in the MW and 78th nationally in rushing offense (154.0 ypg), eighth in the MW and 87th in the nation in passing offense (214.8 ypg), eighth in the MW and 89th in the nation in completions percentage (.577), ninth in the MW and 94th in the nation in total offense (368.8 ypg), and 10th in the MW in passing efficiency (108.9).

On special teams, Utah State ranks fourth in the Mountain West and 24th nationally in punt return defense (2.75 ypr) and third in the MW and 25th in the nation in kickoff return defense (17.70 ypr). USU also ranks fifth in the MW and tied for 76th nationally in punt returns (7.7 ypr), seventh in the MW and 60th in the nation in net punting (37.7 ypk), and seventh in the MW and 70th in the nation in kickoff returns (20.4 ypr).

Utah State also ranks third in the Mountain West and tied for 42nd in the nation in turnover margin (0.50 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 MW and tied for second in the nation with one punt return for touchdown, second in the MW and tied for 19th in the nation in punt return average (13.3 ypr), and seventh in the MW in all-purpose yards (102.5 pg). Junior LB LT Filiaga ranks tied for second in the MW and tied for third in the nation in fumbles recovered (0.50 pg), and tied for 24th in the MW in tackles (6.5 pg). Sophomore S Devin Centers ranks tied for first in the MW and tied for 61st in the nation in sacks (0.75 pg), tied for second in the MW and tied for third in the nation in fumbles recovered (0.50 pg), eighth in the MW and tied for 84th in the nation in tackles (8.5 pg), and 10th in the MW in tackles for loss (1.1 pg). Sophomore LB Nick Vigil ranks first in the MW and tied for 15th in the nation in fumbles forced (0.50 pg), second in the MW and tied for 29th in the nation in tackles (10.0 pg), tied for sixth in the MW and tied for 53rd in the nation in tackles for loss (1.4 pg), and tied for ninth in the MW in sacks (0.50 pg). Senior DE B.J. Larsen ranks tied for first in the MW and tied for 61st nationally in sacks (0.75 pg), and tied for third in the MW and tied for 30th in the nation in tackles for loss (1.5 pg). Freshman CB Jalen Davis ranks tied for third in the MW and tied for 32nd in the nation in interceptions (0.50 pg), and tied for fifth in the MW and tied for 58th in the nation in passes defended (1.25 pg). Senior LB Zach Vigil ranks tied for third in the MW and tied for 30th nationally in tackles for loss (1.50 pg), and tied for third in the MW and tied for 50th in the nation in tackles (9.2 pg). Senior SS Frankie Sutera ranks tied for third in the MW and tied for 32 nationally in interceptions (0.50 pg), and tied for 44th in the MW in tackles (5.0 pg). Junior WR Hunter Sharp ranks fifth in the MW and 59th in the nation in receiving yards (76.2 pg), and tied for ninth in the MW and tied for 50th in the nation in receptions (5.8 pg). Junior LB Torrey Green ranks tied for fourth in the MW and tied for 22nd in the nation in fumbles recovered (0.25 pg), and tied for seventh in the MW and tied for 75th in the nation in tackles for loss (1.25 pg). Sophomore CB Daniel Gray ranks tied for eighth in the MW in passes defended (1.0 pg). Senior FS Brian Suite ranks tied for 39th in the MW in tackles (5.2 pg). Senior QB Chuckie Keeton ranks eighth in the MW and 93rd in the nation in completion percentage (.554), and 11th in the MW in passing efficiency (92.8). Sophomore RB Kennedy Williams ranks eighth in the MW and 76th nationally in kickoff return average (20.9 ypr). Senior P Jaron Bentrude ranks 10th in the MW and 79th in the nation in punting (38.8 ypk). And senior PK Nick Diaz ranks tied for seventh in the MW and tied for 83rd in the nation in field goals (0.75 pg), tied for ninth in the MW and tied for 77th in the nation in field goal percentage (.600), and 10th in the MW in scoring among kickers (4.8).

Utah State (2-2, 0-0 MW) has a bye this week and returns to action next weekend at No. 20 BYU (4-0) on Friday, Oct. 3 at 8:15 p.m. (MT). The game will be televised nationally on ESPN. USU is 34-46-3 all-time against the Cougars, including a 16-27-1 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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