LOGAN, Utah – With bowl eligibility on the line, Utah State’s football team played its best game of the season and recorded its first shutout in four years with a 38-0 drubbing of Hawai’i on Senior Day on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium.
With the win, Utah State improves to 6-5 on the season and 4-3 in Mountain West play and is bowl eligible for the sixth time in the last seven seasons. Overall, USU has played in 11 bowl games in school history. Hawai’i, losers of four straight and eight of its last nine, falls to 3-8 overall and 1-7 in league play.
Utah State was dominate on both sides of the ball as it recorded 475 yards of total offense, including 311 rushing yards, its second-most in a game this season. USU was also 5-of-11 on third down and scored 30-plus points for the fifth time this season, despite possessing the ball for just 21:35, its second-lowest possession time this season.
Defensively, Utah State limited Hawai’i to just 318 yards of total offense, 104.8 yards under its season average of 422.8 yards per game, as it had 172 rushing yards and 146 passing yards. USU also held UH scoreless on three trips inside its red zone as the Rainbow Warriors missed a 41-yard field goal, turned it over on downs and fumbled on its own 1-yard line. Hawai’i was also just 5-of-19 on third down and 1-of-5 on fourth down in the game.
Senior RB LaJuan Hunt led Utah State as he gained 111 yards on just 13 carries and one touchdown for his second-straight 100-yard rushing game, and his third of the season and fourth of his career. Hunt also had a 26-yard reception to finish with 137 all-purpose yards. Sophomore WR Gerold Bright added 93 rushing yards on just eight carries and a touchdown, while senior WR Braelon Roberts had a career-best 55 receiving yards on two receptions and a touchdown.
After missing a 46-yard field goal on its opening series, Utah State scored touchdowns on its next three drives to take a 21-0 lead into halftime. Bright started the scoring on a career-long 60-yard run on third down and four as the Aggies took just three plays and 0:38 to cover 66 yards.
Redshirt freshman QB Jordan Love connected with junior WR Ron’quavion Tarver for Utah State’s second touchdown of the game on a 10-yard pass in a drive that went 67 yards in eight plays and took 2:17 off the clock. Love finished the game 9-of-14 passing for 113 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while Tarver had two catches for 14 yards.
Leading 14-0 after the first quarter, senior QB Kent Myers orchestrated a 4-play, 75-yard drive that took just 0:54 and culminated in a 48-yard touchdown pass to Roberts.
Utah State committed its only turnover of the game late in the first half on a Love interception, but quickly got the ball back as junior BS Gaje Ferguson stripped Diocemy Saint Juste at the 1-yard line and the fumble was recovered by sophomore LB Justus Te’i.
After forcing Hawai’i to a three-and-out on its first series of the second half, Utah State scored on its first offensive play of the half as Hunt darted into the end zone from 48 yards out to push its lead to 28-0.
Love added another touchdown late in the third quarter on a 15-yard spinning run, that resulted in him losing a shoe, to cap a 3-play, 53-yard drive that took just 1:02 to make the score 35-0 late in the third quarter. Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle finished the scoring with a 20-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter and Utah State coasted from there for the 38-0 win.
Defensively, Utah State recorded 4.0 sacks and 7.0 tackles for loss and six pass breakups in the game. Ferguson led the Aggie defense with eight stops and a forced fumble, while senior BS Dallin Leavitt had seven tackles. Junior DE Adewale Adeoye recorded a career-high six tackles and forced his first career fumble, while senior DB Jalen Davis had a career-high four pass breakups to go along with one sack as part of his three tackles.
Utah State will close out the 2017 regular season next weekend in a Mountain West road game at Air Force on Saturday, Nov. 25, at 8:15 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2.
For Aggie football ticket information regarding its upcoming bowl game, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation.
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