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Utah State outlasts Air Force 49-45 in shootout

The Aggies once again used a strong fourth quarter to best the Falcons and move to 3-0 on the season.

Utah State running back Calvin Tyler runs with the ball in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Air Force at Air Force Academy, Colo., Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.
Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette via AP

The Deseret News is providing live coverage from tonight’s game between Utah State and Air Force. Follow along for updates throughout the night.

Final

Trailing by 11 in the fourth quarter, the Aggies controlled the fourth quarter for the third time in three games this season to get the win and remain undefeated at 3-0.

Andrew Peasley connected with Deven Thompkins for a 72-yard score with just under 10 minutes to play, and then Utah State converted a 2-point try to cut the deficit to three.

The Aggie defense that had struggled for much of the night to get stops finally got one, forcing a punt on the ensuing possession, and Calvin Tyler Jr. broke free for a 61-yard touchdown run to give Utah State the lead.

Defensive leader Justin Rice then forced a fumble with 2:30 to play, and the Aggies were able to run the clock out.

Third quarter

In a 15 minutes that was an absolute shootout, Air Force scored three touchdowns to Utah State’s two to take an 11-point advantage into the fourth quarter.

Utah State started the scoring to cut its deficit to four at 24-20, and the teams went back and forth until it was 31-27 Falcons. The Aggies then got a stop and scored on a connection from Andrew Peasley to Brandon Bowling to take the lead.

Air Force responded with a touchdown to take back the lead and 38-34 heading into the fourth quarter on a 55-yard run from Emmanuel Michel.

Second quarter

Things started well for the Aggies in the second quarter as linebacker Justin Rice intercepted a pass in the red zone and Utah State drove 92 yards in 11 plays for a touchdown as Logan Bonner connected with Brandon Bowling, although the extra point was missed.

Air Force responded with a touchdown of its own, using a big pass once again to get it as Haaziq Daniels connected with Micah Davis for a 56-yard score.

Utah State then had the first three and out of the night for either team, and the Falcons responded with a dominant 16 play, 75-yard touchdown drive in which the Aggies never really had an answer to stop them.

For the half, Air Force has 305 yards of offense to 241 for Utah State. The Aggies have been penalized seven times and the Falcons just twice.

First quarter

In a rather fast moving first quarter, both teams had bright spots offensively as Air Force took a 10-7 lead.

The Falcons got on the board early with a touchdown that was set up with a rare pass play by the option offense. The Aggies moved the ball well on the ensuing possession but did not get any points out of it.

After Air Force ended up with a short field goal on its next drive, Utah State responded with a 13-play drive that ended in a 1-yard touchdown punch-in from Calvin Tyler Jr.

Pregame prep

Here are a couple stories to get you ready for the game: