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USU football: Utah State ranked 18th in the nation in latest Associated Press poll

Following its 61-19 Mountain West home win against New Mexico this past weekend, Utah State football is nationally ranked for the first time since 2012 as it comes in at No. 18 in the Associated Press poll and 20th in the Amway Coaches Poll.

Utah State garnered 340 votes in this week's poll to be nationally ranked for the first time since 2012 when that Aggie team went 11-2 and set a school record for wins as it finished the year ranked 16th in the nation. USU also received 281 votes in this week's Coaches' Poll.

Overall, this is just the fourth Utah State team in school history to be nationally ranked in the AP poll joining the 1960, 1961 and 2012 teams. The 1960 team was ranked 18th and 19th in consecutive weeks, while the 1961 team finished the season ranked 10th, and the 2012 team was ranked for four-straight weeks and finished the season 16th. One other Aggie squad has been nationally ranked as the 1978 team started the year with a 5-0 record and was 18th in the country in the United Press International (UPI) poll.

Utah State started receiving votes in the polls this season following its 45-20 win at BYU on Oct. 5, as it garnered nine votes in the AP poll and 11 votes in the Coaches poll to rank 32nd and 33rd in the nation, respectively. Following its 59-28 home win against UNLV on Oct. 13, USU garnered 38 votes in the AP poll and 33 votes in the Coaches poll to rank tied for 31st and 32nd in the nation, respectively. Last week, USU was ranked 27th in the nation in both polls as it received 50 votes in the AP poll and 63 votes in the Coaches poll.

Prior to this season, the last time Utah State received votes in either poll was on October 18, 2015, following its 52-26 home win against then-No. 21 Boise State, as it received seven votes in the AP poll to rank 36th and five votes in the Coaches poll to rank tied for 34th.

Utah State (7-1, 4-0 MW) is off to its best start to a season since the 1965 team won its first seven outings and was 7-1 after eight games. USU is also 4-0 in Mountain West play for the first time in its six years in the league. The last time USU had a better conference start was in 2012 when that team posted a perfect 6-0 mark in its last year in the Western Athletic Conference. Overall, it is the fifth time in the last eight seasons and the 24th time in 121 seasons of Aggie football that USU has won at least seven games.

On the season, Utah State is one of just 20 teams in the nation with one or fewer losses and one of 14 teams that has not lost a conference game.

Utah State’s current seven-game winning streak is tied for the fifth-longest active winning streak in the nation and tied for the second-longest in school history as the 1960 team holds the school record with nine-straight wins, while the 1907, 1912, 1963, 1965, 2012 and 2018 teams all won seven games in a row.

During its current seven-game winning streak, Utah State is averaging 52.0 points and 489.4 yards per game (275.7 passing, 213.7 rushing) while converting 45.3 percent of its third downs (43-95) and committing just 11 turnovers (nine fumbles, two interceptions). Defensively, USU is allowing 20.0 points and 337.6 yards (183.7 passing, 153.9 rushing) while limiting its opponents to just 40-of-124 (.323) on third downs and forcing 19 turnovers (11 interceptions, eight fumbles).

Utah State ranks among the top-40 teams in the nation in 29 different statistical categories, including third in scoring offense (49.4 points per game), tied for first in non-offensive touchdowns (eight), tied for second in defensive touchdowns (four), third in turnovers forced (21), third in kickoff returns (29.3 yards per return), tied for fifth in winning percentage (.875) and eighth in tackles for loss (8.1 per game). USU also ranks second in the nation with 17 scoring drives on the season of less than 60 seconds.

Utah State continues Mountain West play this weekend with a road game at Hawai’i (6-4, 3-2 MW) on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 10 p.m. MT. The game will be distributed outside the state of Hawaii via the Mountain West Network through the MW’s digital media partner Stadium on Download the Stadium app for Apple (Stadium on iOS) or Android (Stadium on Android). There are no streams on desktop computers. You must use the stadium app.

Overall, Utah State has won four of its last five Mountain West road games dating back to last season and is averaging 39.2 points and 427.0 yards of total offense (218.0 rushing, 209.0 passing) in those games. Defensively, USU is allowing just 20.4 points and 346.8 yards of total offense (277.2 rushing, 69.4 passing), and it has forced 14 turnovers in its last five conference road games.