If you didn’t know the name Rahsul Faison before Utah State’s victory over Nevada on Saturday, you probably do now.
The Aggie running back has been part of a strong corps of USU rushers this season, along with Robert Briggs and Davon Booth, but Faison was something of a featured back in the Aggies’ 41-24 win over the Wolf Pack on Saturday.
The result? A career day for the former Snow College Badger.
Despite splitting time with Briggs, particularly in the first half, Faison ended the day with a career-high 181 yards rushing, averaging 8.2 yards per carry.
That was the most rushing yards in a single game by a Utah State running back since Devante May rushed for 208 yards against Weber State in 2016
Faison’s one touchdown run, on a drive in which he accounted for all 57 yards gained by Utah State, gives him four TDs this season, second on the team behind Booth (who didn’t play Saturday against Nevada).
Faison showed burst, elusiveness and strength running the ball, twice breaking off runs of 40-plus yards.
“So proud he’s with us,” Utah State head coach Blake Anderson. “He was a great addition to the room and he gets better every week. ... He just gets better every week, runs hard, runs behind his pads, explosive.”
Perhaps the best play made be Faison Saturday wasn’t in the running game, though, but in pass protection.
Faison hasn’t been the Aggies’ best back when it comes to blocking and picking up blitzes, but on a key 47-yard USU touchdown pass from quarterback Cooper Legas to Micah Davis just before halftime, Faison’s block gave Legas the time needed to make arguably the play of the game.
“He took the blitzer off the edge and allowed us to cram and get (a touchdown) and that’s not what we showed him all week during practice,” Anderson said. “That was a great adjustment on his part.”
Faison didn’t join the program until the summer, one of a horde of junior college transfers Utah State added in the offseason.
And Logan, Utah, isn’t very similar to his hometown of Pottstown, Pennsylvania, a borough in Montgomery County west of Philadelphia and adjacent to Amish country.
But Faison just wants to play football, and Snow College and now Utah State provided the opportunity.
“It was definitely a huge change,” he said, “but I just wanted to play football, so I wasn’t really too concerned with it, and I kind of adapt quick.”
Much to the Aggies’ delight.
The move from the junior college ranks to the FBS level has seemed almost easy for Faison, who wasn’t expecting the kind of workload he got against Nevada.
“I wasn’t expecting that, but I was ready for it for sure,” he said. “Coach always says to stay ready. You want to be ready, and when the opportunity came? I had to do what I had to do.”
To USU’s benefit.
“When you consider that he missed all the spring (football) and didn’t get to us until the summer, I think it says a lot about just kind of time and energy and effort he’s putting in,” Anderson said. “It’s pretty big day. 180 yards is pretty good day.”