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Dennehy says adversity has hardened his team

LOGAN — Mick Dennehy learned a lot about the makeup of his football team in its 28-10 Sun Belt Conference victory over Louisiana-Monroe Saturday.

Not only was it the Aggies' first conference game, it was their first home game after starting the year 0-3 with losses at Utah, Nebraska and Arizona State.

"I can't tell you how proud I am of our players for battling through a lot of adversity," he said. "Sometimes losing games and being able to come back is difficult."

The Aggies responded in a big way, behind 142 yards from senior tailback David Fiefia and six sacks from a defense that hadn't recorded one in the first three games.

"I think our guys hung in there and persevered and believed in one another," Dennehy said. "(They) believed that good things would happen if they would do that."

Yes, Dennehy was pleased with the defense in holding the Indians to less than 60 yards total offense in the second half, but he still wants to see more consistency from the offense.

After scoring 21 points in the first half, the offense scored only seven in the second half and that was on a one-play two-yard drive following a turnover forced by the defense to put the Aggie "O" on the ULM 2.

"We just didn't execute like we're capable," Dennehy said.

Quarterback Travis Cox threw for 111 yards in the first half and Fiefia rushed for 116, but the offense was limited to just 62 total yards in the second half.

Defensively, the Aggies were solid, so the inability of the offense to move the football didn't hurt, but it is an area of concern for Dennehy.

Ronald Tupea recorded three sacks and was just two yards away from recovering a fumble for a touchdown. John Chick, in his first appearance of the year, added a sack as did Nate Putnam and Justin Jackson.

"The past few weeks Nebraska and Arizona State did it to us (sacks), and it was nice to have the momentum swing in our direction."

The Aggies face back-to-back Mountain West Conference teams beginning Saturday at New Mexico before returning home to face Wyoming Oct. 11.

Utah State will travel to North Texas for its second game of Sun Belt Conference play Oct. 18.


Game summary

UTAH STATE 28, LA.-MONROE 10

FIRST QUARTER

UTAH STATE 7, LA.-MONROE 0

Time: 4:33 remaining

Drive: 89 yards, 16 plays, 7:51

Scoring play: David Fiefia 1-yard run

Conversion: Ben Chaet kick

Key play: David Fiefia had nine carries for 35 yards in the drive

SECOND QUARTER

UTAH STATE 7, LA.-MONROE 3

Time: 14:51 remaining

Drive: 75 yards, 14 plays, 4:36

Scoring play: 22-yard FG by Tyler Kuecker

Conversion: n/a

Key play: The Indians converted three pass plays of 13 yards or more

UTAH STATE 13, LA.-MONROE 3

Time: 12:33 remaining

Drive: 64 yards, 6 plays, 2:12

Scoring play: Travis Cox 5-yard run

Conversion: Chaet missed wide left

Key play: Joel Higginson hauled in a 19-yard pass from Cox to put the Aggies in ULM territory

UTAH STATE 13, LA.-MONROE 10

Time: 6:13 remaining

Drive: 73 yards, 16 plays, 6:12

Scoring play: Glen Sins 5-yard pass from Steven Jyles

Conversion: Kuecker kick

Key play: The Indians converted two third-and-long situations deep in USU territory

UTAH STATE 21, LA.-MONROE 10

Time: 2:37 remaining

Drive: 80 yards, 8 plays, 3:36

Scoring play: Jason Stephens 3-yard pass from Cox

Conversion: Fiefia pass from Cox

Key play: Fiefia had runs of 17 and 15 yards giving him 105 yards on 15 carries

THIRD QUARTER

No scoring

FOURTH QUARTER

UTAH STATE 28, LA.-MONROE 10

Time: 14:38 remaining

Drive: 2 yards, 1 play, :04

Scoring play: Fiefia 2-yard run

Conversion: Justin Hamblin kick

Key play: Ronald Tupea recovered a Steven Jyles fumbled one play before

PLAYS OF THE GAME: David Fiefia's 9-carry, 35-yard performance on USU's first scoring drive. It set the tone for the running game.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: David Fiefia. The Aggies had only one 100-yard game last year behind James Samuel's 159 against Troy State in the 10th game of the year.

NOTES: USU's 89-yard scoring drive in the first quarter was its longest of the season and its third straight 80-plus yard scoring drive . . . TE Chris Cooley, who broke his foot at Arizona State is expected to miss four to six weeks.

OTHER CATEGORIES: The defense recorded its first sack of the year on the last play of the second half. It went on to record six.


E-MAIL: jhinton@desnews.com