<strong>There were people in the parking lot waiting for us and chanting when we got here about 3:30 a.m. It was a big deal</strong> – Utah State quarterback Darell Garretson
LOGAN — Hearing that your starting quarterback was up all night and didn’t finally get to bed until the sun was starting to rise is something that would make most college football fans a little nervous.
But not last weekend in Cache Valley. Not after the Aggies’ first win at in-state rival Brigham Young since 1978.
“There were people in the parking lot waiting for us and chanting when we got here about 3:30 a.m. It was a big deal,” Utah State quarterback Darell Garretson said. “I went home, but I was so excited that I couldn’t go to bed until 7 a.m. So, I just kind of hung out, watched a lot of SportsCenter, and played some video games, honestly.
“But I was just so happy that I couldn’t really go to sleep.”
Once again stepping into the big shoes of senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton, Garretson guided the Aggies to a 35-20 victory in his second start of the season. The sophomore from Chandler, Arizona, completed 19 of 25 passes for 321 yards and three touchdowns. Garretson also ran for a 5-yard score to help Utah State knock off the No. 18 Cougars, the highest-ranked opponent an Aggie team has ever beaten.
“It was an amazing feeling that I’m going to remember for the rest of my life,” Garretson said. “We played really well as a group — defense, offense, special teams. We all did it right.”
For his performance against the previously unbeaten Cougars, Garretson was named the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week — the first time an Aggie has been bestowed that honor.
“That’s obviously an individual award, but something that I don’t like to take along just by myself,” Garretson said. “I couldn’t have done without the offensive line, and I couldn’t have done it without (wide receivers) Hunter Sharp and Devonte Robinson. And Nick Vigil. Nick Vigil should have been the Overall Mountain West Player of the Week.”
GETTING OFFENSIVE: While there is no Overall Mountain West Player of the Week, Garretson’s not the only one who thinks Vigil would have been a shoo-in for the honor if it existed.
After all, the standout sophomore linebacker not only totaled a team-high nine tackles, but he also ran for a team-best 57 yards and a touchdown while making his first-ever collegiate appearance at running back.
“The kid is an athlete,” USU coach Matt Wells said of Vigil. “That was nothing short of a warrior effort the other night. The kid played 108 snaps counting special teams. … If they had the award, which they don’t, he probably ought to be the overall Mountain West MVP. His stats probably weren’t good enough on either side, but come on. What Nick did was impressive.”
While Vigil’s appearance in the USU backfield rather than an opponent’s backfield came as a surprise to most people, it turns out that Wells wanted to get him some carries during fall camp when Vigil was slowed by a shoulder injury. Deemed healthy enough at Provo, the Fremont High product gave the Aggies’ sluggish running game a huge shot in the arm.
“It was fun,” Vigil said. “I feel like I can handle it. My body was a little more banged up than it was previous to this just because of the amount of reps. But other than that, I think I can do it.”
Vigil’s running ability certainly didn’t surprise folks in Plain City, who watched Vigil rack up 1,309 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns on just 211 carries during his senior season with the Silver Wolves. But despite giving Utah State some physical punch and helping the Aggies humble their in-state rivals on the road, Vigil said things this week on campus were pretty much the same.
“But I did gain a lot of followers on Twitter, and a lot of followers on Instagram,” Vigil said with a chuckle.
GETTING THE BALL: After failing to come up with a turnover in its season-opening loss at Tennessee, the Utah State defense is now taking away the football with regularity. The Aggies recorded three interceptions and one fumble recovery in the win over the Cougars, giving them a total of 15 turnovers — nine interceptions and six fumbles — over the past four games.