USU football: Aggies rank third in the nation in sacks per game

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Oct. 15 2012 8:49 a.m. MDT

After recording a school-record 13 sacks in its last game against San Jose State, Utah State’s defense has now registered 27 sacks on the season and ranks third in the nation with an average of 3.86 sacks per game trailing Tulsa (4.71) and Arizona State (4.33).

In all, Utah State’s defense also ranks first in the Western Athletic Conference and 11th in the nation in rushing defense (97.3 ypg), first in the WAC and 13th in the nation in scoring defense (14.9), second in the WAC and 20th in the nation in total defense (322.1 ypg), second in the WAC and 36th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (117.4), and third in the WAC and 59th in the nation in passing defense (224.9 ypg).

USU’s opponents are 15-of-23 (.652) inside the 20 this season to lead the WAC and rank 11th in the nation. Of those 23 trips USU’s opponents have made to the redzone, teams have come away with just seven touchdowns and eight field goals, to go along with two missed field goals, one fumble, one interception and a loss on downs four times.

Furthermore, Utah State’s defense is allowing its opponents to convert just 32.3 percent of its third downs (40-124), which leads the WAC and ranks 15th in the nation. USU’s defense is also allowing 18.14 first downs per game to rank third in the WAC and tied for 31st in the nation.

Through seven games, Utah State has out-scored its opponents 68-3 in the first quarter and has a 116-42 scoring advantage in the first-half this season.

Offensively, Utah State ranks second in the WAC and 55th in the nation in rushing offense (174.1 ypg). USU also ranks third in the WAC and 48th in the nation in total offense (428.4 ypg) and third in the WAC and 48th in the nation in sacks allowed (1.57 pg). USU also ranks fourth in the WAC and 32nd in the nation in passing efficiency (147.3), fourth in the WAC and 43rd in the nation in passing offense (254.3 ypg), and fourth in the WAC and 65th in the nation in scoring offense (27.6 ppg).

As for special teams, Utah State ranks third in the WAC and 35th in the nation in net punting (39.0 ypk), third in the WAC and 46th in the nation in punt returns (9.9 ypr), and fifth in the WAC and 69th in the nation in kickoff returns (20.9 ypr).

Offensively, senior running back Kerwynn Williams ranks first in the WAC and 21st in the nation in all-purpose yards (149.1 ypg), first in the WAC and 29th in the nation in rushing (101.9 ypg), eighth in the WAC in scoring (6.9 ppg) and eighth in the WAC in total offense (101.9 ypg). Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks second in the WAC and 27th in the nation in total offense (290.6 ypg), fourth in the WAC and 34th in the nation in passing (251.1 ypg), fifth in the WAC and 32th in the nation in passing efficiency (149.1), and ninth in the WAC in rushing (39.4 ypg). Senior wide receiver Matt Austin ranks seventh in the WAC in receiving (57.6 ypg) and ninth in the WAC in receptions (4.0 pg).

Defensively, sophomore linebacker Zach Vigil ranks third in the WAC and tied for 77th in the nation in tackles for loss (1.07 pg), fourth in the WAC and tied for 72nd in the nation in sacks (0.57 pg), and tied for fifth in the WAC and tied for 71st in the nation in tackles (8.4 pg). Senior safety McKade Brady ranks second in the WAC and tied for 45th in the nation in tackles (9.0 pg). Senior cornerback Will Davis ranks second in the WAC and 15th in the nation in passes defended (1.57 pg) and 43rd in the WAC in tackles (4.3 pg).

On special teams, senior punter Tyler Bennett ranks second in the WAC and 28th in the nation in punting (43.1 ypk), and senior wide receiver Cameron Webb ranks third in the WAC and 47th in the nation in punt returns (6.6 ypr).

Other individuals who rank among the WAC’s best statistically include junior linebacker Jake Doughty who ranks 13th in the WAC in tackles (6.9 pg); sophomore safety Brian Suite who ranks tied for 16th in the WAC in tackles (6.7 pg); redshirt freshman linebacker Kyler Fackrell who ranks tied for 16th in the WAC in tackles (6.7 pg); senior linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu who ranks 10th in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.79 pg) and 33rd in the WAC in tackles (5.3 pg); junior cornerback Nevin Lawson who ranks 28th in the WAC in tackles (5.6 pg); senior cornerback Terrence Alston who ranks seventh in the WAC in passes defended (0.86 pg); junior defensive lineman Connor Williams who ranks tied for fourth in the WAC and tied for 72nd in the nation in sacks (0.57 pg); and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jordan Nielsen who ranks tied for fourth in the WAC and tied for 72nd in the nation in sacks (0.57 pg).

Utah State (5-2, 1-0 WAC) continues WAC play this week hosting New Mexico State (1-5, 0-2) on Saturday, Oct. 20 at 1 p.m. The game will betelevised regionally by KMYU (Comcast Ch. 22, Dish Network Ch. 12, DirecTV Ch. 12, Over-the-Air 2.2).

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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