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Utah State football: Aggies rank seventh in the nation in scoring defense

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Oct. 21 2012 4:17 p.m. MDT

Utah State cornerback Nevin Lawson (blue jersey) separates New Mexico State wide receiver Austin Franklin from the ball during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, in Logan, Utah. (AP Photo/The Herald Journal, Eli Lucero)

Associated Press

Following its 41-7 home win against New Mexico State, Utah State’s defense continues to be ranked with the best in the nation and is listed among the top 21 teams in the nation in four different statistical categories.

Utah State ranks first in the Western Athletic Conference and fourth in the nation in sacks per game (3.75), first in the WAC and seventh in the nation in scoring defense (13.9), second in the WAC and 13th in the nation in rushing defense (101.6 ypg), second in the WAC and 21st in the nation in total defense (322.0 ypg), first in the WAC and 32nd in the nation in pass efficiency defense (114.9), and third in the WAC and 51st in the nation in passing defense (220.4 ypg).

USU's opponents are 16-of-25 (.640) inside the 20 this season to lead the WAC and rank 11th in the nation. Of those 25 trips USU’s opponents have made to the redzone, they have come away with eight touchdowns and eight field goals, to go along with two missed field goals, two interceptions, one fumble and a loss on downs four times.

Utah State’s defense is allowing its opponents to convert just 32.86 percent of its third downs (46-140), which leads the WAC and ranks 21st in the nation.

In the first-half this year, USU is out-scoring its opponents 82-3 in the first quarter and has a 144-42 scoring advantage in the first-half this season.

Offensively, Utah State ranks second in the WAC and 41st in the nation in total offense (439.4 ypg). USU also ranks second in the WAC and 46th in the nation in rushing offense (184.4 ypg), fourth in the WAC and 26th in the nation in passing efficiency (149.5), fourth in the WAC and 47th in the nation in passing offense (255.0 ypg), fourth in the WAC and 57th in the nation in scoring offense (29.2 ppg), and fourth in the WAC and 59th in the nation in sacks allowed (1.75 pg).

As for special teams, Utah State ranks third in the WAC and 38th in the nation in net punting (38.8 ypk), third in the WAC and 37th in the nation in punt returns (10.9 ypr), and fourth in the WAC and 65th in the nation in kickoff returns (21.3 ypr).

Offensively, senior running back Kerwynn Williams ranks first in the WAC and 18th in the nation in all-purpose yards (152.5 ypg), second in the WAC and 31st in the nation in rushing (99.4 ypg), fifth in the WAC and tied for 77th in the nation in scoring (7.5 ppg), ninth in the WAC in total offense (99.4 ypg), and 10th in the WAC in receptions (3.8 pg). Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks second in the WAC and 19th in the nation in total offense (296.5 ypg), fourth in the WAC and 23rd in the nation in passing efficiency (151.2), fourth in the WAC and 37th in the nation in passing (251.9 ypg), and eighth in the WAC in rushing (44.6 ypg).

Defensively, sophomore linebacker Zach Vigil ranks third in the WAC and tied for 78th in the nation in tackles for loss (1.06 pg), fourth in the WAC and tied for 54th in the nation in sacks (0.62 pg), and fifth in the WAC and 88th in the nation in tackles (8.1 pg). Senior cornerback Will Davis ranks third in the WAC and tied for 11th in the nation in passes defended (1.62 pg) and tied for 36th in the WAC in tackles (4.8 pg). Senior safety McKade Brady ranks third in the WAC and 55th in the nation in tackles (8.8 pg).

On special teams, senior punter Tyler Bennett ranks third in the WAC and 30th in the nation in punting (42.6 ypk), and senior wide receiver Cameron Webb ranks third in the WAC and 45th in the nation in punt returns (8.4 ypr).

Other individuals who rank among the WAC’s best statistically include junior linebacker Jake Doughty who ranks 10th in tackles (7.2 pg); redshirt freshman linebacker Kyler Fackrell who ranks 12th in tackles (6.9 pg); sophomore safety Brian Suite who ranks tied for 14th in tackles (6.6 pg); junior cornerback Nevin Lawson who ranks tied for 27th in tackles (5.5pg); senior linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu who ranks 31st in tackles (5.4 pg); senior cornerback Terrence Alston who ranks tied for fourth in passes defended (1.00 pg); junior defensive lineman Connor Williams who ranks tied for fifth in the WAC and tied for 77th in the nation in sacks (0.50 pg); and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jordan Nielsen who ranks tied for fifth in the WAC and tied for 77th in the nation in sacks (0.50 pg).

Utah State (6-2, 2-0 WAC) continues WAC play this week at UTSA (5-2, 1-1) on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 12 p.m. (MT). The game will be available to watch live on ESPN3.

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 on the USU website.

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.

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