LOGAN – In his first appearance since last year’s Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Utah State quarterback Kent Myers continued right where he left off. In a 33-18 win over Colorado State, the sophomore quarterback took over the starting job for injured senior Chuckie Keeton by completing 12-of-21 passes for 137 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 191 yards on 16 carries and another touchdown. The 191 rushing yards set a USU record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game.
“I just felt like I knew, going into this game, that I was going to have an opportunity to do something like this,” Myers said. “I didn’t think I would rush for 190 but credit to the offense and the offensive line.”
The previous record was 121 yards and was shared by Keeton and former quarterback Tony Adams. Head coach Matt Wells said both were in attendance and he believes both are happy for Myers.
“That’s what it’s all about, you play for the guys that came before you,” he said.
The victory improved the Aggies’ record to an even 2-2, but more important for Wells and his team is the 1-0 conference record.
“That’s a good team we just beat,” Wells said. “Those guys are going to win some games, I don’t have any doubt. I’m happy.”
The game started with each team making a defensive stop before trading field goals. Utah State kicker Jake Thompson first missed a 53-yard attempt, but got a second chance after an offsides penalty was called. He hit the 48-yard second attempt. The Rams moved the ball 53 yards downfield to set up a 42-yard field goal of their own.
Colorado State scored the first touchdown of the game their next time out, and they did it with a 16-yard pass to their star wide receiver Rashard Higgins. Then in just three plays, USU was able to move the ball 84 yards for an Aggie touchdown. Myers rushed the ball twice, the first time for 8 yards, and the second for 24. The touchdown came the next play, on a 42-yard pass to Hunter Sharp.
After a few more defensive stops on each side, USU got the ball back with 3:02 left in the half, then Myers did it again. After running backs LaJuan Hunt and Devante Mays combined for 6 yards on two rushes, Myers kept the ball and rushed twice into the endzone. The first was for 34 yards and the second for 24. The score sent the Aggies into halftime up 17-10.
After a lightning delay provided an extended halftime, the Rams started with the ball. It wasn’t long after that defensive lineman David Moala forced a fumble recovered by Kyler Fackrell.
“I saw (Moala’s) big arm come up and strip the ball,” Fackrell said. “It bounced perfectly into my hands, I thought I was home free. I didn’t see anybody, but somebody ended up getting me from behind.”
The Aggies took over inside the Colorado State 10 yard line, but came away with just a field goal. Stops by the defense set up two more Brock Warren field goals – one in the third quarter and the other early in the fourth – and gave USU a 26-10 lead.
“It was a pretty solid night,” Wells said. “But I think what it came down to was being able to take that two-score lead, that 16-point lead.”
Colorado State finally put some second-half points on the board soon after. Wide receiver Xavier Williams streaked down the field and caught a 43-yard pass in the redzone. Three plays later, the Rams went for it on fourth-and-8. Finding no receivers open, quarterback Nick Stevens ran the ball 15 yards into the endzone. Higgins caught the pass on the 2-point conversion to make it a 26-18, one-possession game with 11:37 left on the clock. Momentum seemed to be shifting, but the Aggie defense didn’t give up any more points.
The USU offense scored once more. Hunt scored on a 33-yard rushing touchdown with 2:18 left on the clock, sealing a homecoming victory for USU.
“We kind of came off the bye rejuvenated and with a new sense of purpose because 1-2 isn’t what we wanted,” Fackrell said. “But all the goals we set are still ahead of us, a Mountain West Championship and to win a bowl game, hopefully.”
The Aggies will now go on the road to face Fresno State Saturday night in another conference matchup.