LOGAN, Utah – Utah State junior wide receiver Deven Thompkins caught six passes for 55 yards and one touchdown as the Aggies opened the home portion of their schedule with a 38-7 Halloween night loss to San Diego State on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium.
“There is not a whole lot to say,” said Utah State head coach Gary Anderson. “You look at the stat line, and it was complete domination. We battled in the first half and couldn’t do anything in the second half at all on offense or defense. I don’t know what to say. We just got beat tonight.”
Thompkins’ touchdown reception – his first of the season – was a thing of beauty as he hauled in the 37-yard, over-the-shoulder catch from junior quarterback Jason Shelley on the final play of the first half.
The score pulled the Aggies (0-2, 0-2 Mountain West) to within 10-7 of the Aztecs heading into the half.
Whatever momentum Utah State gained from Thompkins’ half-ending touchdown was short-lived, however. That’s because San Diego State (2-0, 2-0 MW) scored touchdowns on its first four drives of the second half.
“Number one, it’s great to be 2-0,” said SDSU head coach Brady Hoke. “It’s great to come here and win on the road in a place that they have a pretty good football team. I thought our guys came out with great intent. They were physical on both sides of the ball and played 60 minutes of football.”
The Aztecs effectively took the wind out of the Aggies’ sails on the very first drive of the third quarter. Following a sack by Utah State senior defensive lineman Justus Te’i, SDSU was facing second-and-26 from its own 9-yard line.
Utah State couldn’t get off the field, though, as SDSU running back Greg Bell picked up 16 yards on the second-down play, and quarterback Carson Baker hooked up with tight end Daniel Bellinger for another 16 yards and the first down.
Six running plays later, the Aztecs were in the end zone courtesy of a 6-yard run by Bell to make it 17-7 for the visitors with 9:56 to go in the third.
Utah State went three-and-out on the ensuing possession and punted the ball back to San Diego State, which went 68 yards to paydirt in six plays, opening up a 24-7 lead following a 27-yard touchdown run by Chance Bell.
Greg Bell led SDSU’s ground attack with 157 yards and the one touchdown on 22 carries. Chance Bell added 98 yards and the lone TD on 10 carries, while Jordan Byrd scored on a 73-yard touchdown run.
SDSU finished with 570 yards of total offense, including 407 on the ground alone. Baker completed 18-of-27 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns.
Utah State ended the night with just 215 total yards – 112 through the air and 103 on the ground. Grad transfer Devonta’e Henry-Cole led the Aggies on the ground with 27 yards on 11 carries. Shelley was 13-of-21 for 88 yards with one touchdown and one interception through the air.
Sophomore quarterback Andrew Peasley replaced Shelley in the fourth quarter and completed five of his nine passes for 24 yards and an interception.
Defensively, Utah State senior safety Shaq Bond tied his career high in tackles (12) and pass breakups (2). He also had 1.0 tackles for loss. Senior inside linebacker had a career-high 11 tackles, including 2.0 tackles for loss and 0.5 sacks.
Senior outside linebacker Nick Heninger posted a career-high eight tackles, including 1.0 tackles for loss, while sophomore defensive lineman Hale Motu’apuaka blocked a 33-yard field goal attempt on the game’s opening possession.
San Diego State had three players record five tackles apiece in Taylor Hawkins, Darren Hall and Andrew Aleki.
Utah State will return to action on Thursday, Nov. 5, when the Aggies take on Nevada at Mackay Stadium in Reno, Nev. The game, which will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1, is slated to kick off at 5 p.m. (MT).