Dismal performance from entire Aggie team
Utah State didn’t bother showing up in their own stadium with the Mountain Division on the line. Boise State showed up and showed why they’re the class of the conference, though, by winning 56-21.
Boise State received the ball to start and promptly drove down the field in under two minutes, going up 7-0. On USU’s first possession, they promptly failed to gain offensive rhythm (again) and punted away to the Broncos. It would be the first of many failed drive attempts for this Utah State offense.
After the Aggie defense forced a punt from the Broncos on their next offensive series, Utah State put together a very nice drive using Jordan Love‘s arm. The Aggies capped off their first touchdown drive with a sick one-handed catch by TE Caleb Repp. It would be only one a few highlights for the Aggies.
Late in the first quarter, with the game tied 7-7, USU got the ball back with some critical momentum. Jordan Love then promptly threw the momentum away with a pass to the flat that was nabbed by Boise defender Jalen Walker for a costly pick six. Boise State never looked back after this (and USU needs to burn that play from its playbook).
Boise State went on to score on five straight offensive drives. Utah State’s defense could not tackle and could not get any stops on third down, a continuation of an alarming trend they have seen this season. There were numerous times on the night where the Broncos’ running backs would easily slip past USU’s defensive line and linebackers. Oftentimes, these gains would be for 7+ yards, ensuring Boise State would have manageable offensive situations all night long for their third-string QB Jaylon Henderson.
At halftime, USU was down 35-7. By the end of the third quarter, it was 56-14. Jordan Love had an average night, throwing for 229 yards on 21-of-36 passes with a touchdown and one interception. Gerold Bright performed well below expectations, rushing for 51 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries. Adding insult to injury, DJ Williams got two unsportsmanlike penalties in the game, getting disqualified from the game and weakening an already battered secondary.
On the opposing side, Boise RB George Holani had himself a terrific game, rushing for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Backup QB Jaylon Henderson played like a season starter with 187 yards and three touchdown passes with no picks. The Broncos have superior team depth all around and it showed in this game. Utah State couldn’t contain or stop either of these players and the game was never close after the first quarter.
By the end of the night, USU had managed to score 21 points, but most of those came in garbage time with the game well out of reach. QB Henry Colombi ran in the final score of the night for USU and brought the game to a merciful close shortly after that.
Boise State won 56-21 and the remaining people in the stadium were mostly Bronco fans. It was a painful, but not terribly unsurprising end to the home slate of games for USU.
Few silver linings
The game was miserable, but the season has been about where I thought it would be. Assuming Utah State beats a terrible New Mexico team in the regular-season finale, USU will finish with back to back winning seasons. That’s a step in the right direction considering the Aggies had three losing seasons in a row from 2015-2017.
A win over New Mexico would also guarantee USU a bowl game. This will result in extra practices for the younger players on USU’s roster. Coupled with some rest, these bowl practices could prove to be rejuvenating for the team. Aggies will likely be matched up against a winnable opponent from the MAC or C-USA, a salve the Aggies could use after getting roughed up in November.
If nothing else, with all of their weaknesses exposed in this most recent loss, it will help shed additional light on the recruiting areas Gary Andersen needs to address. Focusing on this for next season along with getting as many reps as possible for the young players could pay off down the road. This team has talent, but they need to learn to put it all together.
Just a couple more wins will help ease the pain of some big missed opportunities this year. If Aggies can win out, we’ll all feel better for next year having taken our lumps in stride. And in this author’s case, because I foolishly bet against a fellow MWC beat writer on the outcome of this game, that means I’ll be taking a cream pie in the face.
You’ve earned the right to laugh, Raja (but watch out for basketball season)!