Utah State Aggies 2015 Preview

Previewing BYU’s Game against the Utah State Aggies

The Cougars head north to Logan to battle for the Old Wagon Wheel with in-state rival Utah State. The Cougars are coming off of a 52-10 shellacking of Fresno State to improve to 8-3 on the season. The Cougars hope to finish the regular season with 9 wins for the first time since 2011 when they finished 10-3 after winning the Armed Forces Bowl. Since then, the Cougars have posted three straight 8-5 records. BYU lost to USU 35-20 in LES last year snapping a 17-game winning streak for the Cougars, BYU hopes to get back in the win column and bring the Old Wagon Wheel back to Provo. The Cougars will be led on offense by Tanner Mangum who is 222 yds away from reaching the 3000 yd threshold on the season while Bronson Kaufusi will lead the defense after putting up 3 sacks and 4 TFL against the Bulldogs.

Utah State reached bowl eligibility for the 5th straight season with a win over 31-27 win over Nevada. The Aggies look to win consecutive games for the first time since winning four straight from ’71-’74. The Aggies have been strong at Maverik Stadium under Matt Wells going 15-2 including 5-0 at home. Heading into their final matchup and haven’t lost a home game since Boise State in October of 2013 and BYU in September of 2013. The Aggies will have oft-injured star Chuckie Keeton back under center after missing 7 games this season due to injury. On defense, they’ll be led by Nick Vigil and Kyler Fackrell who have combined for 204 tackles, 26 TFL, and 7 sacks.

Utah State Aggies 2014 Record: 10-4

@ Tennessee 38-7 L

vs Idaho State 40-20 W

vs Wake Forest 36-24 W

@ Arkansas State 14-21 (OT) L

@ #18 BYU 35-20 W

vs Air Force 34-16 W

@ Colorado State 13-16 L

vs UNLV 34-20 W

@ Hawaii 35-14 W

@ Wyoming 20-3 W

vs New Mexico 28-21 W

vs San Jose State 41-17 W

@ #25 Boise State 19-50 L

vs UTEP 21-6 W

Fresno State Bulldogs 2015 Record: 6-5

vs Southern Utah 12-9 W

@ #24 Utah 14-24 L

@ Washington 17-31 L

Colorado State 33-28 W

@ Fresno State 56-14 W

vs #21 Boise State 52-26 W

@ San Diego State 14-48 L

vs Wyoming 58-27 W

@ New Mexico 13-14 L

@ Air Force 28-35 L

vs Nevada 31-27 W

Bronco Mendenhall vs. Matt Wells

Matt Wells

Season: 3rd

Record: 25-14

Home: 15-2

vs Non-Conf: 7-7

vs BYU: 1-1

Bronco Mendenhall:

Season: 11th

Record: 98-42

Home: 56-11

Away: 35-26

vs MWC: 48-14

vs non-P5: 79-20

vs Utah St: 6-2

BYU vs Utah St: 46-35-3 (38-23 Old Wagon Wheel Era)

      Largest Margin of Victory: 65-6 (’77)

      Largest Margin of Loss: 40-0 (’23)

      Longest Win Streak: 10 (’83-’92)

      Longest Losing Streak: 5 (’52-’56)

      Last Game: 20-35 L (’14)

Utah State depth chart


QB: Kent Myers/Chuckie Keeton

RB: LaJuan Hunt OR Devante Mays

LT: Austin Albrecht/Preston Brooksby

LG: Tyshon Mosley/Ben Wysocki

C: Austin Stephens/Jarome Ionae

RG: Taani Fisilau/KJ Uluave

RT: Jake Simonich/Cody Boyer

TE: Wyatt Houston/Dax Raymond

WR (X): Hunter Sharp/Devonte Robinson

WR (Z): Brandon Swindall/Braelon Roberts

WR (T): Andrew Rodriguez/Kennedy Williams


DE: Jordan Nielsen/John Taylor

NG: David Moala/Gasetoto Schuster

DE: Ricky Ali’ifua/Siua Taufa

OLB: Kyler Fackrell/Alex Huerta

ILB: LT Filiaga/Brock Carmen

ILB: Nick Vigil/Jarom Baldomero

OLB: Torrey Green/Michael Okonkwo

CB: Jalen Davis/Daniel Gray

SS: Marwin Evans/Jontrell Rocquemore

FS: Devin Centers/Tyler Floyd

CB: DeShane Hines/Jentz Painter

Special Teams:

Punter: Aaron Dalton

Kicker: Jake Thompson

Kick Off: Jake Thompson

LS: Salanoa Galea’i

PR: Jalen Davis

KR: Kennedy Williams/LaJuan Hunt

Holder: DJ Nelson


Utah State runs a spread offense with an athletic QB in the backfield whether it be Myers or Keeton. They return starters at 4 positions on the OL headlined by Jake Simonich who’s started 39 career games and Taani Fisilau who has started 37 career games. At RB they have Devante Mays who has 788 yds and 9 TDs and LaJuan Hunt who has 281 yds and 4 TDs as well as 22 receptions for 237 yds and 1 TD. The Aggies best receiver is Hunter Sharp who has 53 catches for 646 yds and 7 TDs the next best receiver is Devonte Robinson who has 20 catches for 326 yds and 2 TDs.

USU is in quite the conundrum this weekend at QB. Kent Myers is listed as the starter but has been pegged as day-to-day due to an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. Chuckie Keeton returns after sitting out 7 weeks due to a knee injury. There isn’t an answer as to who will start but Keeton has plenty of familiarity against BYU with an 0-3 record as a starter against the Cougars while Myers has yet to face the team. As a starter this year, Myers is 5-3 and Keeton is 1-2. Myers has completed 107/179 passes for 1470 yds, 14 TDs and 3 INTs and ran the ball 76 times for 348 yds and 3 TDs. Keeton has completed 70/129 passes for 649 yds, 2 TDs and 6 INTs and has ran the ball 38 times for 128 yds. While Myers is injured, he is a much more dangerous threat to the Cougars on the field this Saturday.

Utah State has a two headed monster in the backfield with Devante Mays getting the majority of carries, he’s netted 788 yds on 134 carries for 9 TDs averaging 5.9 YPC. LaJuan Hunt is more of a pass catching threat out of the backfield with 22 catches for 237 yds and 1 TD while carrying the ball 94 times for 281 yds and 4 TDs. The Cougars will need to be aware of the situation and who’s in the backfield so they can game plan and make adjustments accordingly.

The Aggies have one true threat at receiver, Hunter Sharp who has 53 catches for 646 yds and 7 TDs. After him, Devonte Robinson has 20 catches for 326 yds and 2 TDs. He has about 32.6 YPG and is USU’s most consistent deep threat. Wyatt Houston is a RZ threat for the Aggies and has 19 catches for 242 yds and 3 TDs. BYU will need to match up Davis on Sharp to lock him down and keep everything else in front of them.

Utah State has an experienced OL that is anchored by Jake Simonich and Taani Fisilau on the right side who have 39 and 37 games played, respectively. As a unit, they have 4 returning starters from last year and a combined 147 career games. They’ve been very successful in protecting the QB only allowing 14 sacks through the first 11 games of the season. BYU’s DL has had some huge games recently, led by Bronson Kaufusi who has 5 sacks over the last two games and looks to continue to put up huge numbers in the final regular season game. Travis Tuiloma has been dominating the LOS the last several games which is what has allowed Bronson to be so successful as well as opening gaps for the next level to come up and make plays.

2015 Team Stats:

Points Scored Per Game: 29.8

Rushing Yardage: 1813

Receiving Yardage: 2192

Passing Yardage: 2192

Total Offense: 6197

Fumbles: 18

      Recovered: 8

      Lost: 10

Interceptions: 9

Sacks Allowed: 14 (-86 yds)

First Downs: 207

        Rushing: 90

        Passing: 95

        Penalty: 22

Third Down Conversion: 53/152 (35%)

Fourth Down Conversion: 9/16 (56%)

Penalties: 67 (-636 yds)

Red Zone Efficiency: 26/35 (74%)

Red Zone TDs: 19/35 (54%)

PAT Attempts: 39/42 (93%)

Individual Stats:

2015 Season

QB Kent Myers: 107/179 for 1470 yds, 14 TDs and 3 INTs, 76 carries for 348 yds and 3 TDs; QB Chuckie Keeton: 70/129 for 649 yds, 2 TDs and 6 INTs, 38 carries for 128 yds; RB Devante Mays: 134 carries for 788 yds and 9 TDs, 1 catch for 9 yds; RB LaJuan Hunt: 94 carries for 281 yds and 4 TDs, 22 catches for 237 yds and 1 TD; WR Hunter Sharp: 53 catches for 646 yds and 7 TDs; WR Devonte Robinson: 20 catches for 326 yds and 2 TDs; WR Andrew Rodriguez: 20 receptions for 189 yds and 1 TD; TE Wyatt Houston: 19 catches for 242 yds and 3 TDs;


Utah State runs a 3-4 defense and are very strong up the middle with David Moala manning Nose Tackle and LT Filiage and Nick Vigil cleaning things up in the middle. They also have a talented OLB in Kyler Fackrell who has gotten some pub as a player with NFL potential. The Aggies have really struggled against running teams, after beating Boise State, they lost 3 of their next 4 games against SDSU, New Mexico, and Air Force who all have a strong run game. In order for BYU to win this game, they’re going to have to find success running the ball after struggling over the last three weeks to move the ball on the ground. With another week of recovery under the belt of the OL the Cougars hope to be able to get big production out of Brown, Bernard, and Burt.

Utah State’s DL has struggled to stop the run this year. They gave up 209 yards rushing against Nevada, 309 against Air Force, 270 against Wyoming, and 336 against SDSU. Part of the issue came with an injury to David Moala late in the game against Boise State and he missed the next two games (SDSU and Wyoming) and the Aggies have continued to struggle since. The leader of the group is David Moala as the key to a successful 3-4 defense is the play of the nose tackle, he’s had 37 tackles, 9 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 PBU, and 2 FF. Jordan Nielsen is the most tenured Aggie defender with 52 games played, he’ll come off the edge to make pays and has made 49 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 PBU, and 2 FR.

The Aggies strength is in their LB core. Their three leading tacklers come from that group in Nick Vigil, Kyler Fackrell, and LT Filiaga who have 87 combined starts. Vigil leads the team with 131 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 3 sacks, 2 PBU, 4 QBH, 2 FR and 2 FF, Fackrell will come off the edge from the OLB spot and has 73 tackles with 13.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 12 QBH, 5 FR, and 2 FF and Filiaga has 67 tackles, .5 TFL, and 1 PBU. Part of the reason they’ve been so involved in plays is because of the DLs struggle to stop the run, but they’ve been able to cause disruption in the backfield which is dangerous for the Cougars run game.

The Aggies have a number of playmakers in the secondary, BYU should have a significant height advantage as their starters are all 6′ or under. Marwin Evans plays SS and is a versatile playmaker with 8.5 TFL, 1 INT and 4 PBU, his lone INT on the season was returned 90 yards for a TD. Evans will play next to Devin Center who’s at the FS spot, he leads the team with 3 INTs and has 2 PBU. Jalen Davis is a talented corner for Utah State and has great ball skills, leading the team with 8 on the season and has also picked off two passes on the season. The Cougars strength is in the passing game and they will try to attack this Aggie group to the best of their ability with favorable match ups and a versatile group.

2015 Team Stats:

Points Allowed Per Game: 24.8

Turnover Ratio: 21:19

Forced Fumbles: 19

      Fumbles Recovered: 12

Interceptions: 9

Sacks: 23 (-156 yds)

TFL: 71 (-248 yds)

QBH: 22

PBU: 29

INTs: 9 (173 yds, 1 TD)

TDs allowed: 35

      Rushing: 24

      Passing: 11

First Downs Allowed: 197

      Rushing: 94

      Passing: 85

      Penalty: 18

Third Down Conversion: 57/166 (34%)

Fourth Down Conversion: 11/22 (50%)

Red Zone Efficiency: 29/33 (88%)

Red Zone TDs: 24/33 (73%)

PAT Attempts: 31/34 (91%)

Key Defensive Players:

2015 Season

ILB Nick Vigil: 131 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 3 sacks, 2 PBU, 4 QBH, 2 FR, 2 FF; OLB Kyler Fackrell: 73 tackles, 13.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 12 QBH, 5 FR, 2 FF; LB LT Filiaga: 67 tackles, .5 TFL, 1 PBU; SS Marwin Evans: 54 tackles, 8.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 INT (TD), 4 PBU, 2 FF; DE Jordan Nielsen: 49 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 PBU, 2 FR; LB Torrey Green: 43 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 1 INT, 2 QBH; CB Jalen Davis: 42 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack, 1 PBU, 2 INTs, 8 PBU, 2 QBH, 1 FF; DT David Moala: 37 tackles, 9 TFL, 3 sacks, 1 PBU, 2 FF, 2 BK; CB Deshane Hines: 32 tackles, 5 PBU, 1 FF;

Special Teams:

Utah State has a talented group of specialists, especially in the return game. They have 2 returns that have been taken back for TDs on the season and have found success in using Hunter Sharp and Kennedy Williams as returners as they were able to flip the field and Sharp took one 98 yards to the house.

The Aggies lose their punter and kicker from last season but have found success in their replacements. Aaron Dalton is the starting punter and avg’s 41.3 ypp. Brock Warren and Jake Thompson handle KO and FG duties and have combined for 11/14 on FGs, Thompson will come out or longer FGs and is 3/3 from 40+. Thompson also is the primary KO and has 36 TB on the season.


Brock Warren: 35/37 PAT, 8/11 FG (1-29: 4/6, 30-39: 2/2, 40+: 2/3) lg 41

Jake Thompson: 4/5 PAT, 3/3 FG (40+: 3/3) lg 52


Jake Thompson: 59 KO for 3756 yds, 63.7 avg, 36 TB, 2 OOB

Brock Warren: 4 KO for 225 yds, 56.2 avg, 1 TB


Aaron Dalton: 62 punts for 2563 yds, 41.3 avg, 63 lg, 3 TB, 11 FC, 22 i20, 8 50+, 1 blk

Kick Returns:

Kenne Williams: 7 returns for 251 yds, 35.9 avg, 65 lg

Hunter Sharp: 6 returns for 220 yds, 36.7 avg, 1 TD, 96 lg

Punt Returns:

Andrew Rodriguez: 22 returns for 221 yds, 10.0 avg, 1 TD, 88 lg

Jalen Davis: 6 returns for 57 yds, 9.5 avg, 35 lg

Jontrell Rocquemore: 1 blocked punt returned for 14 yds, 1 TD, 14 lg


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