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Highlights, key plays and photos from Utah State’s 38-7 loss to San Diego State

Trailing by only three points at halftime, Utah State was dominated in the second half. The 0-2 start is the Aggies’ first since 2009.

San Diego State running back Greg Bell (34) carries the ball as Utah State linebacker AJ Vongphachanh (98) defends during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP, Pool)
AP

A week after falling to No. 25 Boise State, Utah State wasn’t much better and lost to San Diego State 38-7 Saturday night in Logan.

The Aztecs led by only three points at the half, but outscored the Aggies 28-0 in the second half. The run game was the deciding factor, as SDSU got whatever it wanted on the ground, while USU struggled throughout the game without senior Jaylen Warren.

Utah State now trails San Diego State in the all-time series 13-2, including an 0-5 record in Logan.

The Aggies 0-2 start is the program’s worst since 2009.

Here are three keys to the Aggies’ loss:

Ground and pound

Over the course of the game, San Diego State simply wore down Utah State on the ground. Whether it be Greg Bell, Chance Bell or Jordan Byrd, the Aztecs got whatever they wanted in the run game. SDSU out-rushed USU 407 yards to 103, averaging 7.7 yards per run, compared to a measly 4.1 for the Aggies.

An absent offense

For the second straight week, Utah State’s offense was a practical no show. Whether it be Jason Shelley or Andrew Peasley at quarterback — both played multiple series — the Aggies could get little going through the air and finished with only 112 passing yards. Both quarterbacks threw interceptions as well, with the only real bright spots being their 14 and 19 -yard scrambles, respectively. As for the running game, neither Devontae Henry-Cole nor Elelyon Noa could replicate Jaylen Warren.

Defense has its moments

For as bad as things were, particularly in the second half, USUs defense had its moments. The Aggies came up with three crucial — at that point in the game — fourth-down stops in the first half, including a blocked field goal, a missed field goal and then a turnover on downs.

Two Aggies finished with 10-plus tackles: safety Shaq Bond (12) and inside linebacker Cash Gilliam (11). Safety Troy Lefeged Jr added 9 tackles, while outside linebacker Nick Heninger finished with 8.

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End fourth quarter

San Diego State 38, Utah State 7

For the second consecutive week, Utah State proved no match for its opponent. The Aggies hung tough through the first half, and were as close as three points, but the Aztecs dominated the second half, outscoring USU 28-0, en route to the runaway win.

5:14 4th Quarter

San Diego State 38, Utah State 7

The Aztecs just continue to lay it on the Aggies, this time on a 73-yard touchdown run by junior running back Jordan Byrd. His touchdown scamper capped off a 6-play, 99-yard drive that took just over 3 minutes.

13:11 4th Quarter

San Diego State 31, Utah State 7

Greg Bell continued his standout performance, this time through the air. Bell caught a 29-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Carson Baker, all but sealing the win for the Aztecs.

End of 3rd Quarter

San Diego State 24, Utah State 7

A few notes from the second quarter:

  • The Aztecs dominance has continued, and grown more stark. SDSU has out-gained the Aggies 424 yards to 142. The Aztecs rushing yardage (294) is more than 5 times greater than what USU has mustered (54).
  • The battle for possession has won by the Aztecs, who’ve had the ball for over 29 minutes, compared to Utah State’s 15.
  • Shelley has been USUs best running threat, with 5 carries for 22 yards, including a long of 14 yards.
  • SDSU running back Greg Bell has carried the ball 21 times for 155 yards and a touchdown. Understudy Chance Bell has added 98 yards on 10 carries.

5:33 3rd Quarter

San Diego State 24, Utah State 7

The Aztecs opened up a commanding lead over the Aggies, with a 6-play, 68-yard scoring drive. Chance Bell scored SDSUs third touchdown of the game, on a 27-yard run.

9:56 3rd Quarter

San Diego State 17, Utah State 7

The Aztecs came out of the break determined to run the ball, and rode junior running back Chance Bell early and often. It worked, to the tune of a 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive that was capped off by a 6-yard touchdown by Greg Bell.

End of 2nd Quarter

San Diego State 10, Utah State 7

A few notes from the second quarter:

  • Araiza, a Lou Groza nominee, missed a 45-yard field goal attempt, his second miss of the day after the Motu’apuaka block.
  • Shelley threw his second interception of the season, this one to SDSU linebacker Seyddrick Lakalaka.
  • The Aggies’ defense forced a key 4-and-out midway through the quarter, with the Aztecs yet again in USU territory.
  • USU trails in time of possession, yards-per-play, penalties incurred, first downs and total yardage.

0:00 2nd Quarter

San Diego State 10, Utah State 7

USU quarterback Jason Shelley found wide receiver Deven Thompkins for a 37-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the first half.

1:10 2nd Quarter

San Diego State 10, Utah State 0

After coming up empty on their previous two field goals tries, the Aztecs, specifically kicker Matt Araiza, connected from 28-yards out, putting SDSU up two scores.

End of 1st Quarter

San Diego State 7, Utah State 0

A few notes from the opening quarter:

  • USU defensive tackle Hale Motu’apuaka blocked a SDSU field goal attempt on the Aztecs first offensive series of the game.
  • The Aggies rode graduate transfer running back Devontae Henry-Cole, to the tune of 7 carries for 20 yards.
  • SDSU was the better team in practically every offensive statistic, the most glaring of which was a 9 to 2 edge on first downs.
  • Starting safeties Shaq Bond and Troy Lefeged Jr. were the stalwarts for USU defensively, with a combined 8 tackles.

3:44 1st Quarter

San Diego State 7, Utah State 0

After coming up short on their first offensive possession, the Aztecs wasted little time the second go-round and reeled off a six-play 52 yard scoring drive, capped off by a 15-yard touchdown reception by Kobe Smith.


Pre-game

Here are a few links to stories you may want to read prior to or during the game:

Utah State athletic director John Hartwell is “fired up” for the Aggies’ season opener:

A glimpse at the new-look (during the COIVD-19 pandemic) Maverik Stadium:

The Aggies are ready to go: