Texas State (3-4) at Utah State (7-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, Nov. 3, 3 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Romney Stadium (25,513) -- Logan, Utah. Television: Local. Home Record: Texas State 2-2, USU 4-0. Away Record: Texas State 1-2, USU 3-2. Neutral Record: Texas State 0-0, USU 0-0. Conference Record: Texas State 1-1, USU 3-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The leader in the Western Athletic Conference takes to the field once again this weekend, as the Utah State Aggies entertain the Texas State Bobcats at Romney Stadium in Logan.
The Aggies are off to their best start after nine games since 1978, and their 3-0 opening to the WAC schedule is their best league start since 2000 when the team began with four consecutive triumphs in Big West Conference action. Last week, the team delivered a knockout blow to UT San Antonio on the road at the Alamodome, 48-17, their third straight outing with at least 40 points, the first time that's happened since 1990.
Clearly on a roll right now, Utah State has won eight consecutive WAC games dating back to last season and the team is receiving votes in the AP Poll for the second time this season.
As for the Bobcats, their transition to the WAC hasn't gone quite as smoothly, although they have split their first two league bouts thanks to a 38-7 romp over Idaho a few weeks back. More recently the team was sent packing by San Jose State in a 31-20 final in California over the weekend. The loss was the third in the last four games for a team that is still searching for consecutive wins on the season.
This is the first-ever meeting between these two schools on the football field.
Texas State held an early lead against the Spartans, even owned an edge at intermission, but the team failed to score a single point in the second half as they went down against SJSU on the road. Shaun Rutherford converted 14- of-26 passes for just 130 yards, was sacked two times and had two passes picked off. The signal-caller also ran for a team-best 70 yards and a score, but it made little difference in the end.
Defensively, the Bobcats allowed San Jose State to not only pass for 376 yards and two TDs but also run for another 195 yards and a pair of scores which means Texas State was getting attacked on all sides by the hosts. Jason McLean finished with a team-best 10 tackles, one behind the line of scrimmage, and forced a fumble in the setback.
McLean leads the team overall on the season with his 56 total stops. More impressive is the fact that he has 36 solo stops which by themselves would have him tied for the third-most overall tackles for the Bobcats. Also making an impact for the defense in 2012 are Darryl Morris and Craig Mager who each have three interceptions in an effort to slow down the opposition.
Rutherford has been trying to do it all for the Bobcats on offense, completing 67.6 percent of his passes for nine touchdowns and also placing second on the team with 288 yards and three TDs on the ground. Marcus Curry, who scored a touchdown last weekend against the Spartans, paces the running attack with 333 yards and six TDs.
Directing the offense for the Aggies is quarterback Chuckie Keeton who register a new career high with 27 completions on Saturday in the win over the Roadrunners. Keeton attempted 36 passes and finished with 340 yards and three touchdowns, against just one interception.
Still an offensive sparkplug for Utah State, Kerwynn Williams not only ran for 90 yards and two touchdowns versus UTSA, he also caught three passes for a team-best 68 yards as well which makes him tough to cover for most defenses. Emulating Williams was Joe Hill who scored one touchdown on the ground and another through the air.
After nine games the Aggies rank first in the conference and sixth in the nation in scoring defense, allowing only 14.2 ppg and yet very few people outside of Utah even know about them. The squad is also tops in the league and fifth in the nation in sacks with 3.56 per outing, although the squad had just two of them versus the Roadrunners, one each by Al Lapuaho and Connor Williams.
The good news for the USU defense is that there isn't one single player who is doing most of the damage himself, it is coming from a variety of guys which means opponents have to try and plan accordingly. Zach Vigil, second in total tackles (71) leads with 8.5 tackles for loss and is tied for the team high with five sacks at the moment.
With 19 passing scores and another three on the ground, Keeton is obviously an integral part of the offense for the Aggies, but few players in the WAC, or the rest of the FBS for that matter, can compare to Williams who has nine rushing TDs and three more through the air as he paces the team in yardage in both areas which means the Bobcats will have to pick their poison this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah State 49, Texas State 24
10/31 10:38:15 ET