LOGAN – The Bridger Rifle will stay in Logan, and so will hopes of a Mountain West championship. In a 58-27 rout of Wyoming Friday night the Aggies improved to 5-3 overall and 4-1 in conference.
Utah State quarterback Kent Myers completed 14-of-17 passes for 246 yards and three touchdowns. It was a career-best game for Aggie running back Devante Mays who ran 22 times for 181 yards and two touchdowns.
“Devante ran behind his pads, was real strong all night,” head coach Matt Wells said after the game. “Kent was very, very efficient in the passing game.”
With the absence of starting nose guard David Moala and defensive end Ricky Ali’ifua to injury, Wyoming used its star running back Brian Hill to attack the Aggie defensive front. Hill finished the game with 201 yards on 26 rushes and a touchdown.
“Hill is a really good back … I have a lot of respect for him,” Wells said. “It’s a very good offensive line, tough guys up front. It’s a team that runs the ball very, very well.”
The Utah State offense wasted no time in trying to get on the scoreboard first. On the first play from scrimmage Myers hit tight end Chris Copier for a 35-yard gain then found Hunter Sharp for 23 more yards. Three plays later he found tight end Wyatt Houston in the endzone for an 8-yard touchdown catch.
Wyoming fired back and scored almost as easily as the Aggie offense did. Hill ran the ball 6 times for 37 yards in the 13-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a 9-yard Jake Maulhardt touchdown reception.
The Aggies retook the lead on the next drive, but if it weren’t for wide receiver Braelon Roberts coming up big on two-straight plays it may not have happened. On second-and-15 he made an 11-yard catch and converted the third down with a 7-yard grab the very next play. The score came when a 24-yard pass to Houston helped set up an 11-yard Devante Mays touchdown run.
The run-heavy Cowboys started to move the ball downfield again. The team had reached the USU 30-yard line, but on fourth-and-1 linebacker Kyler Fackrell met Hill behind the line of scrimmage and forced a turnover on downs. The offense responded to the defensive stop with another Mays touchdown, who ran for 20 yards on the three touches during the drive. Wide receiver Andrew Rodriguez picked up 25 yards off a Myers pass and 15 more at the end of the play due to a facemask penalty against the Cowboys.
On its next time out, Wyoming picked up another touchdown when the seemingly-unstoppable Hill broke free and ran 47-yards into the endzone.
“I thought the defense didn’t play very well, especially because they ran the ball on us at will. We didn’t do a very good job,” linebacker Nick Vigil said. “It’s good the offense had a good game tonight or it would have been a dog fight down at the end.”
After the Aggies’ Brock Warren hit a 22-yard field goal to give USU a 24-14 lead with 1:38 left in the half, the defense forced a three-and-out and the first punt of the game with just 42 seconds on the clock. Aggie linebacker Brock Carmen found his way through the line and blocked the punt, which landed in Wyoming’s own endzone. The ball was quickly jumped on by safety Jontrell Rocquemore for an Aggie touchdown. The extra point attempt was also blocked, giving USU a 30-14 advantage at half.
“We tried to take a couple timeouts there at the end and at least put the punt block team back on the field and give us an opportunity to do that,” Wells said. “Those kids did a nice job executing.”
Utah State started the second half with a three-and-out defensive stop followed by an 8-play, 46-yard touchdown-scoring drive.
Wyoming was later able to capitalize off good field position from an Aggie fumble. Quarterback Nick Smith ran into the endzone to cut the score to 37-21, but that was as close as the Cowboys would get.
The next three scores all came from the Aggie offense. Wide receiver Brandon Swindall came up big on the following Aggie possession by catching three passes for 50 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown catch on third-and-11. Wyatt Houston scored his second touchdown with 9:52 left on a 5-play, 75-yard drive that included a 28-yard carry from Mays and a 12-yard reverse to Kennedy Williams. The Aggies last touchdown came on a 34-yard pass from Damion Hobbs to Jaren Colston-Green. Wyoming scored once more with just 12 seconds left on an 8-yard touchdown pass.