In what may be the most optimistic 59-10 loss in Utah State history, the Aggies fell to the Wisconsin Badgers on Friday night at Camp Randall Stadium.
Kent Myers finished with 213 yards passing on 25 of 41 passing with three interceptions. Tonny Lindsey led the Aggies with 29 yards on six carries. Lajuan Hunt added 27 yards on seven carries with one touchdown.
Utah State opened the game on a 10-0 run and kept the lead deep into the second quarter before the Badgers rattled off 59 straight points. Sophomore QB Alex Hornibrook led the Badgers with a career-high 244 yards passing and three touchdowns.
The turning point could easily be pointed to midway through the second quarter when senior CB Jalen Davis was disqualified after being called for targeting a defenseless Wisconsin wide receiver. The play was deemed to involve excessive force to the head/neck area of the receiver. Prior to the play, the Aggie defense had held Wisconsin to zero points. Following the call, Wisconsin began it’s scoring streak with a 15-play, 79-yard touchdown drive that took eight minutes and 25 seconds off the clock.
On the next Utah State drive, a Myers pass to freshman TE Carson Terrell ricocheted into the air and was intercepted, leading to a Wisconsin field goal that tied the game heading into the half. The Aggies never recovered.
Several positives could be found for the Aggies following the blowout loss, however. A starting offensive line which had zero collective starts prior to the game actually looked respectable for much of the game. The Aggie defense, with a whole slew of new starters, held a talented Wisconsin offense scoreless for more than 22 minutes. The play-calling from David Yost looked markedly different from last year’s overly cautious tendencies.
It’s also important to remember that Wisconsin is really good. The top ten ranking is very well deserved, and USU will not see another team even close to the Badgers’ talent level for the remainder of the season. Wisconsin had a top ten defense last season in both yards and points allowed. No one remaining on the Aggies’ schedule can come close to that pedigree.
Let me be clear, 59-10 sucks. It’s embarrassing. But that is what we were expecting going into this game. We did not expect to be up 10-0 at any point. What we saw for those first 22 minutes was real and promising.
The darkness may appear overwhelming, but Utah State showed enough light to keep me hopeful.
Utah State next plays Idaho State on Thursday, September 7 at Maverik Stadium.