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Final: Utah State starts Blake Anderson era with thrilling 26-23 comeback win over Washington State

Utah State wide receiver Deven Thompkins, left, celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Brandon Bowling against Washington State.
Utah State wide receiver Deven Thompkins, left, celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Brandon Bowling during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Pullman, Wash. Utah State won 26-23.
Young Kwak, Associated Press

The Deseret News is providing live coverage from tonight’s season opener between Utah State and Washington State. Follow along for updates throughout the night.

Final

Utah State 26, Washington State 23

Utah State got its own sweet taste of Pac-12 After Dark in the first game of the Blake Anderson era.

The Aggies rallied from a 12-point deficit to beat Washington State 26-23 on Saturday night at Martin Field in Pullman, Washington, as Deven Thompkins caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Arkansas State transfer Logan Bonner with 11 seconds to play for the go-ahead score.

Derek Wright caught a two-point conversion to make it a three-point game. Then the Aggie defense held on the final game for the win.

It was Utah State’s first win over a Power Five program since Utah in 2012, and the Aggies’ first road win over a Power Five program since 1971 against Kansas State.

Bonner completed his final 10 passes of the game, as he led the Aggies’ two touchdown drives in the fourth quarter. Utah State controlled the ball for 9:29 in the final period.

After Washington State started the fourth quarter with its third field goal of the night to push its lead to 23-11, the Aggies responded with a 14-play, 70-yard drive that ended with Utah State’s first touchdown of the season.

The Aggies took 6:38 off the clock with the drive, but USU made it a one-score game with a 2-yard Calvin Tyler Jr. touchdown run with 5:25 to play.

Utah State then forced a three-and-out, giving the Aggies offense one last chance to drive for a potential game-winner, and the Utah State offense delivered. The Aggies finished with 439 yards of total offense to 293 for Washington State.

The Aggies traded off using Bonner and Andrew Peasley at quarterback all night, until Bonner quarterbacked the final two drives of the game. Bonner completed 17 of 24 passes for 143 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Peasley, meanwhile, completed 6 of 12 for 76 yards.

End of 3rd quarter

Washington State 20, Utah State 11

Both teams scored twice in the third quarter. Unfortunately for Utah State, it notched a pair of field goals while Washington State had two touchdown drives. That gives the Cougars a nine-point lead going into the final quarter.

Utah State converted two 50-yard drives into short Connor Coles field goals from 39 and 28 yards, but Washington State had an answer, using its speed to take control.

Cougars running back Max Borghi scored on a 64-yard touchdown run, and later Washington State capped an eight-play, 69-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Ollie to make it a two-score game.

Halftime

Washington State 6, Utah State 5

The Aggies are in a tight one with the Cougars, though two Utah State turnovers slowed their momentum and led to Washington State taking the lead just before halftime.

On the plus side, the Aggies have outgained the Cougars 185 yards to 137, and Patrick Joyner Jr.’s safety gave USU a 5-3 lead. Overall, the Aggie defense has looked good, while the offense has had its moments, though inconsistency has halted a USU attack utilizing both quarterbacks.

End of 1st quarter

Utah State 3, Washington State 0

The Aggies have gone with two quarterbacks — Logan Bonner and Andrew Peasley — in the first quarter, and it was Peasley who led Utah State’s first scoring drive. After USU went three-and-out with Bonner on its first series, Peasley led a 77-yard drive that ended with a Connor Coles 23-yard field goal.

Peasley completed 2 of 4 passes for 50 yards, including a 45-yarder to Deven Thompkins, and rushed for 31 yards on two carries on the scoring drive.

Pregame prep

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