Utah State football picked to finish second in Mountain Division of Mountain West Preseason Polls

HENDERSON, Nev. – Utah State football has been picked second in the Mountain Division of the 2019 Mountain West preseason polls, it was announced Tuesday at the league’s annual Media Days held at the Green Valley Ranch.

Boise State was picked to win the Mountain Division title as the Broncos garnered 15 first-place votes and earned a total of 120 points. The Broncos went 7-1 in league play last season and won the Mountain Division. Utah State received the other six first-place votes and 108 points for second place in the Mountain Division poll, followed by Air Force (73), Wyoming (66), Colorado State (52) and New Mexico (22).

Defending Mountain West champion Fresno State was picked to win the West Division title as the Bulldogs garnered 17 first-place votes and earned a total of 122 points after going 7-1 in league play last season and defeating Boise State, 19-16 in overtime, of the MW Championship game. San Diego State claimed three first-place votes and 106 points to place second behind the Bulldogs in the West Division poll, followed by Nevada (74), Hawai’i (67), UNLV (51) and San José State (21). The Rainbow Warriors received the other first-place vote in the West Division.

This marks the seventh 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 José State and UNLV make up the West Division. The two divisional winners will meet in the MW Championship Game on Dec. 7, at the home stadium of the divisional champion with the best conference record.

Utah State returns nine starters (O-2, D-7) as part of 32 letterwinners (O-13, D-17, S-2), including two All-Americans and eight players that earned various all-Mountain West honors, from last year’s team that ended the season ranked 21st in the final Amway Coaches poll and 22nd in the final Associated Press poll as it tied the school record for wins and best record with an 11-2 mark following its 52-13 win against North Texas in the New Mexico Bowl.

Utah State’s offense finished the 2018 season leading the nation in scoring drives under one minute with 29, was second in the nation in scoring at 47.5 points per game and third in average margin of victory at 25.3 points per game. USU’s offense was also fourth nationally in sacks allowed with 10 (0.77 per game), 11th in total offense (497.4 yards per game), 12th in third down conversion percentage (.473), 14th in passes had intercepted (6) and team passing efficiency (154.39), 17th in passing offense (294.2 yards per game), 20th in completion percentage (.652) and 31st in rushing offense (203.2 ypg).

During the 2018 season, Utah State’s offense set single-season school records with its four 60-point games, seven 50-point games, nine 40-point games, 60-plus points in back-to-back games, 50-plus points in three-straight games, 30-plus points in six straight games to start a season, 40-plus points in five straight games at any point in a season, 700-plus yards of total offense twice, 600-plus yards of total offense four times, 600-plus yards of total offense in three straight games, 52 first-half points versus New Mexico, 20 players with touchdowns, 79 touchdowns, 618 points, 47.5 points per game, 497.4 yards of total offense per game, 32 touchdown passes, 6.07 touchdowns per game, 6,466 yards of total offense, 3,825 passing yards, 303 completions, 6.84 yards per attempt, 164 passing first downs, 10 sacks allowed, 29 scoring drives under one minute, and 804 yards of total offense in a single game versus San José State.

Those 618 points scored in 13 games last season set the Mountain West record, which was previously held by BYU, which scored 608 points in 14 games in 2001.

Utah State’s defense finished the 2018 season leading the nation in turnovers forced with 32, passes intercepted with 22, and three-and-outs forced with 5.69 per game. USU was also second in the nation in non-offensive touchdowns (10), third in turnover margin (+1.08) and defensive touchdowns (6), 10th in blocked kicks (4), 16th in third down conversion percentage defense (.330) and 19th in team passing efficiency defense (113.76).

Defensively, Utah State set three school records in 2018 with its six interception returns for touchdowns, 475 interception return yards and 10 non-offensive touchdowns.

Utah State will open the 2019 season on Friday, Aug. 30, on the ACC Network at Wake Forest at 6 p.m. (MT) and begin its home season the following weekend against Stony Brook on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 5:30 p.m. Mountain West play begins for USU two weekends later at San Diego State on Saturday, Sept. 21, in a game that will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network and begin at 8:30 p.m. (MT).

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.

2019 Mountain West Football Predicted Order of Finish

Mountain Division

Rank    Team (First-Place Votes)        Points

1.                     Boise State (15)                      120

2.                     UTAH STATE (6)                 108

3.                     Air Force                                 73

4.                     Wyoming                                66

5.                     Colorado State                       52

6.                     New Mexico                           22

West Division

Rank    Team (First-Place Votes)        Points

1.                     Fresno State (17)                   122

2.                     San Diego State (3)              106

3.                     Nevada                                    74

4.                     Hawai’i (1)                             67

5.                     UNLV                                      51

6.                     San José State                       21

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