Three keys as Utah State Football seeks a third straight win

Logan, Utah- Quarterback questions remain as Utah State seeks its third straight win over former Aggie Andrew Peasley and the Wyoming Cowboys.

USU (3-4, 2-1) travel to Laramie, WY where they will face off against the Cowboys (4-3, 2-1) on Saturday, October 22nd. Kick-off for this game is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. (MST).

After a bye week, the Cowboys won their last game, a 27-14 away win in New Mexico.

With Peasley leading the Cowboys offense and question marks over who will snap for the Aggies, what does it take for Utah State to win its third straight game in the Mountain West Conference? Here are three keys to looking for USU hopes of escaping Laramie with a win.

Execute the offensive

Utah State lost to Colorado State’s Cooper Legas (concussion) and Levi Williams (ankle) last week due to injuries. By the fourth QB of the season, redshirt freshman Bishop Davenport led USU to a second-half win over the Rams.

As the season nears, head coach Blake Anderson has yet to announce who will start as quarterback at Laramie.

Whether it’s playcraft to keep the Cowboys in the dark or genuine uncertainty regarding the availability of Legas and Williams, the goal for the starting quarterback should be simple.

Carry out.

end handovers. Go through progressions and meet the open receiver; and if available, move the chains with your legs.

Although Legas and Williams each have more time in Anderson’s system, Davenport has been with the Aggies since early summer. With a week of practice reps under Davenport’s belt, a luxury state of Utah that wasn’t won last week, he should be able to handle more of the offense.

When Davenport starts, expect a slimmed-down playbook from offensive coordinator Anthony Tucker. But the heart of what Utah State is good at running the ball shouldn’t be affected by the quarterback’s turmoil.

Lean On Rushing Attack

How can a coaching staff help a young, inexperienced starting quarterback get back on the road in a difficult environment? Pass the ball to your running backs early and often.

As a team, USU rushes 173.5 yards per game and their 1,215 rushing yards are good for second place in the Mountain West and top 20 nationally. Utah State’s 294 rushing attempts are the second most in the conference, behind only a challenged Air Force team.

The Cowboys’ rush defense was strong, allowing a fifth in the conference 147 yards per play on the ground.

Graduated senior running back Calvin Tyler Jr. has been on his toes for the past few weeks. In his second season with the Aggies, Tyler Jr. has four rushing games for 100 yards, including surpassing the century mark in his last three games. Tyler Jr. is the first aggie back since Kerwynn Williams to surpass the 100-yard mark in three straight games. Despite his success at accumulating mileage, Tyler Jr. has found the end zone once this season.

Behind Tyler Jr. is freshman Robert Briggs. In his collegiate debut, Briggs carried 10 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. After earning Mountain West Freshman of the Week honors in that win over UConn, Briggs has only hit double-digit carries twice since.

If Williams or Davenport end up getting the start for Utah State, expect both Aggie defenders to see plenty of action.

finish tackles

Utah State’s defense has been plagued with missed tackles at all levels this season. For an undermanned Aggie team that could not do without Byron Vaughns, who also left the Colorado State Game with a head injury, getting the ball carrier up and swarming to the ball will be paramount.

A pair of Aggies find themselves in the top 20 for most tackles nationally. Junior linebacker MJ Tafisi averages more than nine tackles per game and ranks 12th in the nation with 66 stops. Senior linebacker AJ Vongphachanh is third in Mountain West and 20th nationally with 61 stops.

This dynamic pair of linebackers will need help stopping a Wyoming offensive that is averaging a fifth at the Mountain West, 23 points per game.

Game Eight Captains

As usual, the state of Utah has named five captains for tonight’s game. junior defensive end Patrick Joyner Jr.; graduate junior defense attorney Daniel Grzesiak; second year longshot Jacob Garcia; Graduate senior offensive lineman Jacob South and graduate senior offensive lineman Wade Meacham.

See & Hear

Utah State (3-4, 2-1) head east to Laramie, Wyoming where they face the Wyoming Cowboys (4-3, 2-1) on Saturday, October 22. Kick-off for this game is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. (MST). Fans can watch the game on Fox Sports Networks.

Every Utah state football game can be heard on the KSL sports zone with Scott Garrard and former Aggie quarterback Kevin White on the call.

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