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USU football: Utah State football ranks 11th in the nation in total defense again

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Sept. 30 2012 8:50 p.m. MDT

Following its 35-13 Homecoming win against UNLV this past weekend, Utah State is now 4-1 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 five games, Utah State has out-scored its opponents 51-0 in the first quarter and has allowed just one first-half touchdown — which was scored in its last game against the Rebels — as it holds an 85-16 scoring advantage in the first half this season.

In all, Utah State’s defense ranks second in the Western Athletic Conference and 11th in the nation in total defense (280.8 ypg). USU also leads the WAC and ranks 13th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (99.2), is first in the WAC and 15th in the nation in passing defense (174.4 ypg), ranks first in the WAC and 18th in the nation in scoring defense (14.2 ppg), is second in the WAC and 22nd in the nation in rushing defense (106.4ypg), and is second in the WAC and 22nd in the nation in sacks per game (2.8).

Utah State’s defense has done its job of not allowing teams to score once it enters the red zone as USU’s opponents are 9-of-13 (.692) inside the 20 this season to rank tied for 18th in the nation. Of those 13 trips Aggie opponents have made into the red zone, they have come away with just three touchdowns and six field goals, to go along with one missed field goal, one fumble, one interception and a loss on downs.

Furthermore, Utah State’s defense is allowing its opponents to convert just 27.1 percent of its third downs (23-85), which leads the WAC and ranks ninth in the nation. USU’s defense is also allowing just 16.00 first downs per game to lead the WAC and rank 16th in the nation.

Offensively, Utah State ranks second in the WAC and 40th in the nation in rushing offense (193.2 ypg) and second in the WAC and 40th in the nation in total offense (454.2 ypg). USU also ranks fourth in the WAC and 26th in the nation in passing efficiency (155.9), fourth in the WAC and 45th in the nation in passing offense (261.0 ypg), and fourth in the WAC and 60th in the nation in scoring offense (28.2 ppg). USU also ranks fourth in the WAC and 50th in the nation in sacks allowed per game (1.6).

As for special teams, Utah State ranks third in the WAC and 39th in the nation in punt returns (10.9 ypr), fourth in the WAC and 35th in the nation in kickoff returns (23.9 ypr) and fifth in the WAC and 55th in the nation in net punting (37.6 ypk).

Individually, senior running back Kerwynn Williams ranks first in the WAC and 20th in the nation in all-purpose yards (156.2 ypg), second in the WAC and 23rd in the nation in rushing (103.8 ypg), eighth in the WAC in receiving (52.4 ypg), ninth in the WAC in scoring (6.0 ppg), and ninth in the WAC in total offense (103.8 ypg).

Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks first in the WAC and 27th in the nation in total offense (297.4 ypg), fifth in the WAC and 26th in the nation in passing efficiency (156.4), fourth in the WAC and 37th in the nation in passing (256.2 ypg), and eighth in the WAC in rushing (41.2 ypg).

Sophomore linebacker Zach Vigil ranks tied for third in the WAC and tied for 52nd in the nation in tackles for loss (1.30 pg), tied for fifth in the WAC and tied for 72nd in the nation in sacks (0.60 pg), and seventh in the WAC in tackles (7.8 pg).

Senior linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu ranks tied for ninth in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.90 pg) and 19th in tackles (6.4 pg). Senior safety McKade Brady ranks seventh in the WAC in tackles (7.8 pg). Junior linebacker Jake Doughty ranks 16th in the WAC in tackles (6.8 pg). Sophomore safety Brian Suite ranks tied for 17th in the WAC in tackles (6.6 pg). Redshirt freshman linebacker Kyler Fackrell ranks 36th in the WAC in tackles (5.2 pg). Junior cornerback Nevin Lawson ranks 37th in the WAC in tackles (5.0 pg). Senior cornerback Will Davis ranks first in the WAC in passes defended (2.0pg), and fellow senior cornerback Terrence Alston ranks tied for fifth in the WAC in passes defended (1.20 pg). And senior punter Tyler Bennett ranks fourth in the WAC and 31st in the nation in punting (43.4 ypk).

Utah State plays its third in-state opponent of the season this weekend as it travels to Provo to face BYU on Friday, Oct. 5 at 8:15 p.m., in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN.

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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