LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Utah State football has been picked second in the Mountain Division of the 2015 Mountain West Conference preseason polls, it was announced Tuesday at the league’s annual Media Days held at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Defending Mountain West champion Boise State was predicted to win the Mountain Division title as the Broncos garnered 28 of a possible 30 first-place votes and earned a total of 177 points. Boise State posted a 7-1 league record in 2014 to capture the Mountain Division, defeating West Division champion Fresno State 28-14 in the Sports Authority Mountain West Football Championship Game. Boise State capped its season with a 38-30 victory over Arizona in the VIZIO Fiesta Bowl to end the year with a 12-2 overall record.
Utah State received two first-place votes and 150 points for second place in the Mountain Division poll, followed by Colorado State (108), Air Force (90), Wyoming (64) and New Mexico (41).
San Diego State was chosen to finish atop the West Division with 27 first-place votes and 177 points. The Aztecs tied for first in the West Division standings in 2014 with a 5-3 record and earned their fifth consecutive bowl invitation, but fell to Navy 17-16 in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl to end the year at 7-6.
Fresno State, winners of the West Division each of the past two years, claimed three first-place votes and 141 points to place second behind the Aztecs in the West Division poll, followed by Nevada (113), San José State (91), Hawai’i (70) and UNLV (38).
This marks the third season of divisional play for the Mountain West, which moved to the two, six-team divisional format in 2013 following the additions of San José State and Utah State. The Mountain Division is comprised of Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State, New Mexico, Utah State and Wyoming, while Fresno State, Hawai’i, Nevada, San Diego State, San Jose State and UNLV make up the West Division. The two divisional winners will meet in the MW Championship Game on Dec. 5 at the home stadium of the divisional champion with the highest College Football Playoff Committee ranking.
Utah State returns 15 starters (O-8, D-7) and 39 letterwinners (O-12, D-25, S-2) from last year’s team that posted a 10-4 record, finished tied for second in the Mountain Division with a 6-2 record, and ended its season with a 21-6 win against UTEP in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. At season’s end, the Aggies received 11 top-25 votes in the final Associated Press poll and eight votes in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ poll to rank 32nd and 34th, respectively.
Utah State’s offense in 2014 finished the season ranked sixth in the Mountain West and 78th in the nation in scoring at 26.9 points per game. The Aggies also ranked fourth in the MW and 30th in the nation in completion percentage (.625), fourth in the MW and 51st in the nation in passing efficiency (133.9), tied for sixth in the MW and tied for 56th in the nation in sacks allowed (2.00 pg), seventh in the MW and 49th nationally in rushing offense (180.1 ypg), eighth in the MW and 92nd in the nation in passing offense (198.7 ypg) and 11th in the MW and 83rd in the nation in total offense (378.8 ypg).
Defensively, Utah State finished the 2014 campaign ranked among the top-30 defenses in the nation in 10 categories, including ranking first in the MW and 12th in the nation in scoring defense at 19.7 ppg. The Aggies also ranked first in the MW and fourth in the nation in both sacks (3.57 pg) and tackles for loss (8.1 pg), second in the MW and eighth in the nation in interceptions (19), second in the MW and ninth in the nation in defensive touchdowns (5), second in the MW and 11th in the nation in turnovers forced (30), second in the MW and 17th in the nation in passing efficiency defense (111.42), first in the MW and 24th in the nation in rushing defense (130.7 ypg), second in the MW and 25th in the nation in opponents’ third down conversion percentage (.358), and second in the MW and 30th nationally in total defense (356.1 ypg).
Over the last three years, Utah State is one of just four Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools to win at least 30 games and three bowl games along with Clemson, Michigan State and Oregon. Furthermore, USU has played in four-straight bowl games, winning each of its last three, both of which are school records.
Utah State will open the 2015 season on Thursday, Sept. 3, at home against Southern Utah and will begin Mountain West play on Saturday, Oct. 3, at home against Colorado State.
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.
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.
<strong>2015 Mountain West Football Predicted Order of Finish</strong>
<span style=”text-decoration: underline;”><strong>Mountain Division</strong></span>
Rank Team (First-Place Votes) Points
1. Boise State (28) 177
2. UTAH STATE (2) 150
3. Colorado State 108
4. Air Force 90
5. Wyoming 64
6. New Mexico 41
<span style=”text-decoration: underline;”><strong>West Division</strong></span>
Rank Team (First-Place Votes) Points
1. San Diego State (27) 174
2. Fresno State (3) 141
3. Nevada 113
4. San Jose State 91
5. Hawai’i 70
6. UNLV 38