Utah State football is in the win column after a 51-13 romp over the Idaho State Bengals. The Aggie offense, which faltered against Wisconsin after a strong first half in last week’s season opener, settled into a groove early with 38 points in the first half alone. Senior quarterback Kent Myers threw for 323 yards and rushed for two touchdowns before tagging out in the third quarter with the Aggies up by nearly 40. Senior cornerback Jalen Davis added two interceptions to the victory, including a second quarter pick-six.
“Always satisfying to come out and perform the way we did right out of the gate,” said USU head coach Wells. “We played catch. We caught some contested balls. I thought Kent was fairly accurate and we gave him time to throw.”
The Bengals managed to move the ball well on their opening drive, crossing into USU territory before stalling at the 46 with a failed fourth down try. Utah State took possession and quickly involved junior wideout Ron’Quavion Tarver, who snagged back-to-back passes to move the Aggies up to the Bengals 23-yd line. Still knocking on the door of red zone after LaJuan Hunt found no room to run on second down, quarterback Kent Myers’ took a shot at one of Utah State’s new faces — Jordan Nathan. The true freshman came down with the pass just a step too deep out of the back of the end zone, and the Aggies were forced to settle for a made 40-yd field goal from sophomore Dominik Eberle.
It didn’t take long for the offense to fully charge. Utah State’s following drive, capped by a nine-yard rush from JUCO transfer Eltoro Allen, saw Utah State find the end zone for a 10-0 lead. The Aggies proceeded to reach paydirt on three of their next four drives — Allen would finish the night leading all rushers with 103 total yards.
“Eltoro did a phenomenal job today,” Myers said. “He’s running super hard, going out there putting it all on the line.”
The home team further padded the lead with Davis’ 25-yd interception return for a touchdown, his second pick of the season. Myers also displayed the flashes of rushing prowess which previously earned him the title “dual-threat,” tossing a touchdown pass to Tarver before scampering for a pair of scores from 23 and 36 yards out. Myers did record an interception — his fourth of the season — but ended the night with 323 yards and two touchdowns on 24-of-26 passing, all in under three quarters of playing time.
“I think your best players have to play great every night,” Wells said. “If you’re All-Mountain West, play All-Mountain West.”
Idaho State’s Tucker Louie-Mcgee’s interception set up a nice 2-yd touchdown run by Ty Flanagan, but the Bengals’ star running back was otherwise limited in the game’s opening quarters. By halftime, the contest had already shown signs of losing control with Utah State in front 38-6.
The second half saw the return of Jordan Nathan in a big way. The freshman kept the Aggies’ offensive assault rolling by taking a 19-yd pass into the end zone, leaping into a lone Bengal goal line defender for his first career score.
Utah State began its first drive with backup quarterback Jordan Love less than five minutes into the third quarter, an opportunity the Bengal defense pounced on. Love was taken down for a loss of eight on third down, forcing the first Aggie punt of the evening. The teams traded possessions without success for more than five minutes before Idaho State’s Tanner Gueller found wideout Michael Dean two full steps ahead of his closest defender for a 42-yd touchdown strike. Ending the third quarter on top 45-13, the Aggies set the offense to cruise control for the final 15 minutes and captured their first victory of the season.
“We got sloppy, I guess that happens with a lot of young players that haven’t played,” Wells said of the Aggies’ late-game play. “…All in all good win, good crowd, and good to get back on the winning side.”
Defensively, Utah State held the Bengals to 113 rushing yards, adding a blocked point after and a blocked punt to the stat sheet.