Utah State Defies Odds, Crushes San Diego State in title game

Utah State Defies Odds, Crushes San Diego State in title game

Utah State

Utah State Defies Odds, Crushes San Diego State in title game

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Third Quarter

This is where USU started to humiliate their hosts.

Aggies received the ball to start the half and Bonner found Brandon Bowling all by himself in a blown coverage. Bowling grabbed the long ball and hauled it 58 yards for an easy score. SDSU’s frustration started to show and the wheels proceeded to come off the bus.

After getting sacked by Marcus Moore, Brookshire’s third down pass to Greg Bell fell incomplete, forcing yet another Matt Araiza punt. This time however, his booming kick would go in the opposite direction it needed to go for the Aztecs.

USU’s special teams unit came up huge on this play. LB Kina Maile shoved his defender backwards with enough force to put him back on his heels. Araiza’s kick went clean off the back of this defender, putting the ball in the end zone. Though USU was unable to recover for the TD, they did get a safety out of it in hysterical fashion.

Bonner threw his lone interception of the day to Patrick McMorris who returned it into Aggie territory. Greg Bell ran for 14 yards and then Cam Lampkin later got flagged for PI to get the Aztecs down to the 3-yard line. The Aztecs then committed offensive PI to put them right back where they were and Brookshire’s next passes hit the dirt. Araiza kicked a 36-yarder to notch the score up at 23-6.

Though USU would only gain six yards on their next drive before punting, SDSU’s Jordan Byrd muffed the punt and Jaden Smith was right there to fall on top of it for USU. The drive continued after all.

After taking a big sack, Bonner threw to Elelyon Noa for an 8-yard pickup and then to Wright for a 12-yard gain. Shortly thereafter, Bonner found his favorite target in Bowling for an 18-yard TD pass in the very back of the end zone. The PAT was missed putting the visitors up 29-6.

In what was surely the backbreaking moment for SDSU, after starting the drive, Greg Bell fumbled the ball and DL Marcus Moore fell on it at the SDSU 22-yard line. The Aggies would only get a field goal out of it, but hope of an Aztec comeback win were all but dead.

Fourth Quarter

At this point, the final period was a mere formality. The Aztecs struggled to reach their own 40-yard line and would turn the ball over on downs here. Logan Bonner then had two big pass plays on the drive to Justin McGriff. The Aztecs jumped offsides on 4th down, giving the Aggies a free play and easy TD grab for the big-bodied McGriff over his hapless defender.

The Aztecs put together a great 80-yard, eight play drive. Chance Bell ripped off a 27-yard rush and then QB Jalen Mayden took over in relief for Brookshire to get his team down to the Aggie 19-yard line. He ran 14 yards and then tossed a 5-yard TD pass to Jesse Matthews to notch the score at 39-13. It was too little too late, though.

In a drive that turned out to be a good summary of the Aggies’ overall fortune, USU accidentally scored after a failed SDSU onside kick.

Calvin Tyler hit a short burst of a few yards, but then he broke through the Aztec defensive line and looked like he was on his way for a 27-yard rushing score. An Aztec defender punched out the ball before this and it rolled into the end zone, but Jordan Nathan was right beside Tyler the whole run. He was able to fall on top of the ball to end the scoring at 46-13 for USU.

It was the final yet hilarious insult to an Aztec team that had gotten thoroughly outclassed in their own stadium. Mistakes not only doomed their chances, but USU took advantage of virtually all of them to leave absolutely no doubt. The final Aztec drive was fruitless and the Aggies would claim the championship.

Final Thoughts

The Aggies are the undisputed 2021 Mountain West champions. Logan Bonner and Byron Vaughns earned their respective offensive and defensive MVP awards for the game as well. The whole team was completely in sync whereas the Aztecs fell in disarray after a flurry of critical mistakes.

It was not only a program milestone, but the game itself turned out to be a record setter in numerous regards. It was the highest scoring game at 46 points for the victor. It had the most passing TDs by a single player. It had the most Rec TDs by a single player. It had the first safety and it finally had the most blocked punts. All of this was done by USU in what proved to be a humiliating loss for the heavily favored Aztecs.

Blake Anderson didn’t win MW coach of the year and USU only had one First Team player picked by the conference. After this drubbing, it’s evident the conference totally screwed up in their awards process. This Aggie team was disrespected from the beginning of the year and they have managed to make everyone look silly for ever doubting them.

After a disastrous 2020 campaign, it’s surreal to now be saying this just one short year later: it’s the best time to be an Aggie.

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