Aggies begin conference play with win over Air Force

LOGAN – Utah State head coach Matt Wells said his team’s goal was to be 1-0 by Saturday night at midnight. The Aggies were able to do just that. They opened up Mountain West play with a 34-16 win over the Air Force Academy Saturday night in Romney Stadium.

“Really anything we’ve done before that doesn’t matter,” Wells said. “It’s all about the Mountain West. It’s all about the race. It’s all about round two.”

Head Coach Matt Wells said it was part of the game plan to start quick and make Air Force play catch up. On the first play from scrimmage quarterback Darell Garretson connected with Hunter Sharp for a 75-yard touchdown pass. A costly Air Force fumble on the next drive resulted in another quick Sharp touchdown reception.

“We were clicking very, very early in the game,” Sharp said. “It led to two touchdowns.”

After taking the early 14-point lead the Aggie offense struggled to move the ball. The next four drives produced zero first downs. During that time, Air Force was able to add six points off of two field goals to bring the score to 14-6.

The Aggie offense came alive again halfway through the second quarter with a 60-yard drive that was capped off with a Nick Vigil rushing touchdown. That touchdown would be the start of 17 unanswered points for the Aggies that included a Garretson touchdown run and a season-long, 46-yard Nick Diaz field goal.

The defense forced five turnovers during the course of the game, with four of those coming in the first half. The Aggie defense has forced 20 turnovers in the last five games.

“That’s just our mentality,” Zach Vigil said. “We want to get three turnovers a game so those four in the first half was huge. We want to play aggressive and fly around and run to the football and I think we did that.”

Zach Vigil recorded 22 tackles during the game, a career high for him and the most by any FBS player this season.

“It’s an unbelievable performance when we needed it against an option offense and a run-heavy offense and one of the top rushing offenses in the country,” Wells said of the senior linebacker.

His younger brother, Nick Vigil, added 11 more tackles.

Garretson threw for 298 yards and two touchdowns. Sharp was on the other end of more than half of those yards. He led the Aggies in receiving with 12 catches for 164 yards. It is his fourth straight game with at least 100 yards receiving.

The Aggies will travel to Fort Collins, Colorado next weekend to take on Colorado State for the second conference game of the season.

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