LOGAN, Utah – Following its 52-26 win against then-No. 21 Boise State last Friday night on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium, Utah State’s defense now ranks among the top 40 in the nation in 15 categories, including ranking second in the Mountain West and sixth in the nation in rushing defense (90.8 ypg).
The Aggies also rank third in the MW and 20th in the nation in total defense (303.3 ypg), third in the MW and 31st in the nation in scoring defense (20.3 ppg), tied for third in the MW and tied for 17th in the nation in sacks (3.00 pg), fourth in the MW and 25th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (109.8), and eighth in the MW and 53rd in the nation in passing defense (212.5 ypg).
Overall, Utah State ranks among the top 40 nationally in 19 categories.
With five fumble recoveries against the Broncos, the Aggies have now recovered 10 fumbles on the season (all in the last four games) to lead the nation, while ranking fourth nationally with their 18 turnovers forced (all in the last four games).
Utah State also ranks third in the MW and 13th nationally in first downs allowed (17.33 pg), second in the MW and 16th nationally in defensive touchdowns (2), second in the MW and 19th nationally in opponent’s third down conversion percentage (.297), fourth in the MW and 28th nationally in tackles for loss (7.5 pg), and fourth in the MW and 29th nationally with its eight passes intercepted.
The Aggies have scored two defensive touchdowns this year to rank second in the MW and 16th in the nation, and have now scored 10 defensive touchdowns in their last 28 games.
Utah State has forced at least one turnover in 38 of its last 43 games and 95 turnovers in its last 43 games. Overall, the Aggies have forced at least three turnovers in each of their last four games and in 11 of their last 19 games dating back to last season.
Utah State has intercepted 44 passes in its last 30 games, including multiple interceptions in 14 of those 30 games, and has at least one interception in 20 of its last 26 games. Furthermore, the Aggies have held their opponents out of the end zone in the first quarter in 34 of their last 48 games, and scoreless in the first quarter in 23 of their last 48 games. Overall, USU has led at the end of the first quarter in 33 of its last 48 games and is 28-5 in those contests.
Utah State’s defense has held 23 of its last 46 opponents without a first-half touchdown, while seven of its last 46 opponents have been held scoreless in the first half. USU has led at the half in 36 of its last 46 games and is 32-4 in those contests.
Offensively, the Aggies rank third in the MW and 33rd nationally in sacks allowed (1.3 pg), fourth in the MW and 64th nationally in scoring (30.7 ppg), fourth in the MW and 69th nationally in completion percentage (.595), fifth in the MW in passing (185.3 ypg), sixth in the MW in passing efficiency (121.1), eighth in the MW in rushing (169.3 ypg) and ninth in the MW in total offense (354.7 ypg).
On special teams, Utah State ranks third in the MW and 47th in the nation in punt returns (10.1 ypr), and eighth in the MW and 86th in the nation in kickoff returns (20.0 ypr). The Aggies have also blocked an extra point and a punt this season to rank tied for first in the MW and tied for 13th nationally with its two blocked kicks.
Individually, senior LB Kyler Fackrell has recovered four fumbles this season to lead the nation and also ranks first in the MW and 10th nationally in tackles for loss (1.75 pg), tied for first in the MW and tied for 24th nationally with two fumbles forced, tied for seventh in the MW with 3.0 sacks and tied for 30th in the MW with an average of 6.2 tackles per game.
Junior LB Nick Vigil ranks first in the league and sixth nationally in tackles (11.0 pg), tied for first in the MW and tied for 24th nationally with two fumbles forced, seventh in the MW and 58th nationally in tackles for loss (1.25 pg), tied for seventh in the MW and tied for 52nd nationally in fumbles recovered with two, and tied for seventh in the MW with 3.0 sacks.
Junior WR Andrew Rodriguez ranks first in the conference and 11th nationally in punt returns (15.0 pg), while sophomore CB Jalen Davis ranks second in the MW and 12th in the nation in passes defended (1.20 pg), and tied for fifth in the MW and tied for 47th nationally in interceptions (0.33 pg).
Junior FS Devin Centers ranks tied for fifth in the MW and tied for 47th nationally in interceptions (0.33 pg), and tied for 44th in the MW in tackles (5.0 pg). Senior SS Marwin Evans ranks tied for first in the MW and tied for 24th nationally in fumbles forced (0.33 pg).
Senior DE Jordan Nielsen ranks tied for third in the MW and tied for sixth in the nation in fumble recoveries (0.33 pg). Senior CB Tyler Floyd and redshirt freshman FS Jontrell Rocquemore both rank tied for seventh in the MW and tied for 52nd in the nation in fumble recoveries (0.17 pg).
Junior DE Ricky Ali’ifua ranks tied for seventh in the MW in sacks (0.50 pg), senior CB Deshane Hines ranks eighth in the MW in fumbles forced (0.20 pg), senior LB LT Filiaga ranks tied for 24th in the MW in tackles (6.5 pg), junior PK Brock Warren ranks seventh in the MW in field goals (0.83 pg) and 10th in the MW in scoring (6.0 ppg), and redshirt freshman P Aaron Dalton ranks 11th in the MW in punting (39.1 ypk).
The Aggies (4-2, 3-0 Mountain West) return to action on Oct. 23, when they take on San Diego State (3-3, 2-0) at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif., in the second of three consecutive Friday night contests for Utah State. The game kicks off at 8:30 p.m. MT and will be televised on ESPN2.
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