Utah State’s Matt Wells announced as semifinalist for George Munger College Coach of the Year award

Utah State head coach Matt Wells argues a call with the officiating crew during the first half of an NCAA football game against Colorado State, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, in Fort Collins, Colo. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State head coach Matt Wells has been named a semifinalist for the 2018 George Munger College Coach of the Year Award, it was announced Wednesday by Maxwell Football Club (MFC) President Mark Dianno.

Wells is one of 18 coaches nationwide to be selected a semifinalist for the award, which is presented yearly by the MFC. He is one of two nominees from the Beehive State, joining Utah’s Kyle Whittingham, and the only one from the Mountain West.

Semifinalist voting for the George Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year Award will begin on Monday, Nov. 26, and close on Monday, Dec. 10. The finalist round will include the top three coaches as selected in the semifinalist round. Finalist voting will open Dec. 11 and run until Dec. 27. The winner will be announced the following day.

The formal presentation of the George Munger Collegiate Coach of the Year Award will take place at the Maxwell Football Club’s National Awards Gala on Friday, March 8, 2019, at the Tropicana Resort in Atlantic City, N.J.

Eligible voters include Maxwell Football Club members, NCAA head football coaches, sports information directors and selected national media. Georgia’s Kirby Smart was the 2017 winner of the award.

Under Wells, Utah State is off to its best start in school history at 10-1 this season. The Aggies have won a school-record 10 consecutive games and are 7-0 in the Mountain West. The seven league victories are tied with the 2013 squad for the most in school history.

During the 10-game winning streak, Wells’ Aggies are averaging 51.1 points and 514.1 yards per game (278.4 passing, 235.7 rushing), while converting 45.9 percent of their third downs (62-135) and committing just 13 turnovers (11 fumbles, 2 interceptions). Defensively, USU is allowing 20.5 points and 365.9 yards (228.4 passing, 137.5 rushing), while limiting its opponents to just 50-of-165 (.303) on third downs and forcing 26 turnovers (17 interceptions, 9 fumbles).

Utah State, which is ranked 14th in The Associated Press poll and 15th in the Amway Coaches poll, is No. 21 in the latest College Football Playoff (CFP) Rankings, up two spots from a week ago.

The Aggies conclude the regular season with a road game at Boise State (9-2, 6-1 MW) on Saturday, Nov. 24, at Albertsons Stadium. The game, which is set for an 8:15 p.m. kickoff, will be televised live on ESPN, and determine the Mountain Division champion in the Mountain West. The winner will host Fresno State in the MW Championship game on Saturday, Dec. 1, with kickoff scheduled for 5:45 p.m. on ESPN.

Utah State ranks among the top-10 teams in the nation in 17 statistical categories and leads the nation in five of those, including scoring drives under one minute (24), kickoff returns (29.96 yards per return), passes intercepted (18), non-offensive touchdowns (10) and defensive touchdowns (6). USU is also second in the nation in scoring (49.3 points per game) and turnovers forced (28).

Utah State has already set school records this season with its 69 touchdowns and 542 points scored, bettering the previous marks of 60 touchdowns in 2011 and 454 points scored in 2012. The Mountain West record for points scored in a season is 608 by BYU in 2001. USU is also the only team in the nation to have 704 or more yards of total offense twice this season and its average margin of victory of 27.2 points (542-243) is the third-highest in the nation.

Under Wells, who is in his sixth season as the head coach of his alma mater, Utah State has scored 50-plus points 14 times and 60-or-more points six times, both of which are school records.

The 2013 Mountain West Coach of the Year is 44-33 overall during his time at Utah State, including a 30-17 clip in the MW. Wells’ 44 wins are the second-most in school history, while his 57.1 winning percentage ranks sixth with a minimum of 15 games coached.

Wells is the longest-tenured head coach since Chuck Shelton (1986-91) also spent six seasons at USU. In fact, Wells is tied with Shelton and Chuck Mills (1967-72) as the fourth-longest tenured head coaches in 120 seasons of Utah State football.

Utah State is bowl eligible for the seventh time in the last eight years. Sign up to receive bowl game and ticket updates at utahstateaggies.com/postseasoninfo18.

Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

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