NCAA Game Summary - Utah State at Air Force
(Saturday, September 7)
Final Score: Utah State 52, Air Force 20
USAFA, CO (Sports Network) - Chuckie Keeton tied his own Utah State record with five passing touchdowns as the Aggies made quick work of the Air Force Falcons, 52-20, in Mountain West Conference action at Falcon Stadium.
Keeton finished the outing 32-of-40 for 360 yards, setting a new personal high for completed passes in the process. Travis Van Leeuwen reeled in six of those passes for a game-high 70 yards and a score for the Aggies (1-1, 1-0 MWC) as they gave new head coach Matt Wells his first victory.
The Falcons (1-1, 0-1) were paced by Jaleel Awini who, in his first career start at quarterback, threw for 61 yards and ran for a team-best 48 and a score before heading to the sidelines in the lopsided outing. Karson Roberts made an appearance under center, completing 2-of-4 for 47 yards and a score.
The Aggies took the opening possession 75 yards in just over two minutes, culminating with a 30-yard touchdown pass from Keeton to Van Leeuwen.
On their first play from scrimmage, the Falcons gave the ball right back to USU when Awini fumbled and Kyler Fackrell recovered for the visitors at the 35-yard line. Keeton picked up 27 yards on a scramble down the left sideline and then, utilizing a hurry-up offense inside the red zone, Joe Hill scored on a one-yard run to make the score 14-0 at the 11:17 mark.
Air Force did respond later in the first when kicker Will Conant knocked through a pair of field goals from 33 and 34 yards to cap a pair of 11-play drives.
Ahead by eight at the start of the second quarter, the Aggies put together a nine-play, 72-ard drive of their own, finishing it off with a two-yard touchdown run by Joey DeMartino.
The Academy did respond however, as Awini slipped into the end zone from two yards out at the 3:20 mark of the second frame. But before the half could end, USU kicker Nick Diaz accounted for a 41-yard field goal, boosting the lead at intermission to 24-13.
The second half belonged to the Aggies as they scored 28 straight points, beginning with a 23-yard TD pass from Keeton to Ronald Butler. Keeton then had scoring passes to Hill and Travis Reynolds from 20 and 36 yards out, respectively.
A little over three minutes into the fourth quarter, Keeton hooked up with Keegan Andersen for a one-yard TD pass play, pushing the USU lead to 52-13.
Refusing to go away quietly, Air Force came back with a 37-yard TD pass from Roberts to Jalen Robinette at the 8:04 mark, but by then it was too late for the Falcons.
Utah State generated 577 yards of total offense, averaging 6.7 yards on 86 plays, while limiting the Falcons to just 270 yards on the afternoon.
With the victory the Aggies extended their school record of consecutive conference wins to 12 in a row.
The Aggies finished their final season in the Western Athletic Conference with a seven-game win streak, a mark of 11-2 overall, a perfect 6-0 in league action and a blowout win over Toledo (41-15) in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
09/07 20:12:26 ET