USU football: Utah State football ranks 11th in the nation in total defense
Following its 31-19 road win at Colorado State this past weekend, Utah State is now 3-1 on the season and off to its best start since 1978. One of the main reasons for USU’s success thus far is the play of its defense.
Through four games, Utah State has out-scored its opponents 51-0 in the first quarter and has yet to allow a first-half touchdown as it holds a 65-9 scoring advantage in the first half this season.
Utah State’s defense ranks second in the Western Athletic Conference and 11th in the nation in total defense (274.8 ypg). USU also leads the WAC and ranks 18th in the nation in passing defense (171.0 ypg), is first in the WAC and 20th in the nation in scoring defense (14.5 ppg), is first in the WAC and 21st in the nation in pass efficiency defense (102.1), ranks second in the WAC and 21st in the nation in rushing defense, and is second in the WAC and 23rd in the nation in sacks per game (2.8). USU also ranks first in the WAC in opponent’s third-down conversions at 24.2 percent (16-66) and second in the league in first downs allowed per game (15.25).
Utah State’s defense has also prevented teams from scoring once inside the red zone as USU’s opponents are just 6-of-10 (.600) inside the 20 this season with two touchdowns and four field goals, to go along with one missed field goal, one fumble, one interception and a loss on downs.
Offensively, Utah State ranks second in the WAC and 37th in the nation in rushing offense (204.5 ypg) and third in the WAC and 55th in the nation in total offense (424.2 ypg). USU also ranks fifth in the WAC and 42nd in the nation in passing efficiency (143.90), fifth in the WAC and 72nd in the nation in passing offense (219.8 ypg), and sixth in the WAC and 76th in the nation in scoring offense (26.5 ppg). USU also ranks fourth in the WAC and 42nd in the nation in sacks allowed per game (1.5).
Individually, senior running back Kerwynn Williams ranks second in the WAC and tied for 27th in the nation in rushing (101.5 ypg), fourth in the WAC and 40th in the nation in all-purpose yards (130.2 ypg) and ninth in the WAC in total offense (101.5 ypg).
Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks fourth in the WAC and 41st in the nation in total offense (270.2 ypg), fifth in the WAC and 42nd in the nation in passing efficiency (145.4), fifth in the WAC and 55th in the nation in passing (219.8 ypg), and seventh in the WAC in rushing (50.5 ypg).
Sophomore running back Joe Hill ranks ninth in the WAC and tied for 89th in the nation in scoring (7.5 ppg). Senior wide receiver Matt Austin ranks seventh in the WAC in receiving (54.3 ypg) and 10th in receptions (3.75 pg). Senior wide receiver Cameron Webb ranks third in the WAC and 50th in the nation in punt returns (8.3 ypr). Senior punter Tyler Bennett ranks fourth in the WAC and 37th in the nation in punting (42.6 ypk).
Senior safety McKade Brady ranks sixth in the WAC and tied for 88th in the nation in tackles (8.2 pg). Sophomore linebacker Zach Vigil ranks tied for third in the WAC and tied for 46th in the nation in sacks (0.75 pg), tied for fourth in the WAC and tied for 47th in the nation in tackles for loss (1.38pg), and tied for 10th in the WAC in tackles (7.2). Senior cornerback Will Davis ranks tied for first in the WAC in passes defended (2.0 pg), and fellow senior cornerback Terrence Alston ranks tied for sixth in the WAC in passes defended (1.0 pg).
Utah State (3-1) returns home this week to host future Mountain West Conference foe UNLV (1-3) in its annual Homecoming game on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m.
For USU football ticket information, contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or call 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305. Tickets can also be purchased 24 hours a day on the USU website.
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.
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