Following its 48-17 road win at UTSA, Utah State’s defense continues to be ranked with the best in the nation and is now listed among the top 20 teams in the nation in four different statistical categories.
Utah State ranks first in the Western Athletic Conference and fifth in the country averaging 3.56 sacks per game. USU also leads the WAC and ranks sixth in the nation in scoring defense (14.2 ppg), first in the WAC and 11th in the nation in rushing defense (96.0 ypg), first in the WAC and 19th in the nation in total defense (319.4 ypg), first in the WAC and 28th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (114.8), and second in the WAC and 50th in the nation in passing defense (223.4 ypg).
Utah State’s defense has done a great job of not allowing teams to score once it enters the redzone as USU’s opponents are 18-of-27 (.667) inside the 20 this season, which leads the WAC and ranks 10th in the nation. Of those 25 trips USU’s opponents have made to the redzone, they have come away with just nine touchdowns and nine field goals, to go along with two missed field goals, two interceptions, one fumble and a loss on downs four times.
Furthermore, Utah State’s defense is allowing its opponents to convert just 32.69 percent of its third downs (51-156), which leads the WAC and ranks 21st in the nation.
USU is out-scoring its opponents 89-6 in the first quarter and has a 171-45 scoring advantage in the first-half this season.
Offensively, Utah State ranks second in the WAC and 34th in the nation in total offense (448.6 ypg). USU also ranks second in the WAC and 48th in the nation in rushing offense (178.1 ypg), third in the WAC and 21st in the nation in passing efficiency (152.9), third in the WAC and 38th in the nation in passing offense (270.4 ypg), third in the WAC and 50th in the nation in scoring offense (31.3 ppg), and fourth in the WAC and 53rd in the nation in sacks allowed (1.67 pg).
As for special teams, Utah State ranks third in the WAC and 35th in the nation in net punting (38.6 ypk), third in the WAC and 33rd in the nation in punt returns (11.0 ypr), and fourth in the WAC and 63rd in the nation in kickoff returns (21.3 ypr).
Offensively, senior running back Kerwynn Williams ranks first in the WAC and 16th in the nation in all-purpose yards (153.1 ypg), second in the WAC and 32nd in the nation in rushing (98.3 ypg), fourth in the WAC and tied for 57th in the nation in scoring (8.0 ppg), eighth in the WAC in receiving (54.8 ypg), and ninth in the WAC in total offense (98.3 ypg). Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks second in the WAC and 17th in the nation in total offense (301.4 ypg), third in the WAC and 20th in the nation in passing efficiency (154.3), third in the WAC and 29th in the nation in passing (261.7 ypg), and 10th in the WAC in rushing (39.8 ypg).
Defensively, sophomore linebacker Zach Vigil ranks fourth in the WAC and tied for 95th in the nation in tackles for loss (0.94 pg), tied for fourth in the WAC and tied for 74th in the nation in sacks (0.56 pg), and sixth in the WAC and tied for 100th in the nation in tackles (7.9 pg). Senior cornerback Will Davis ranks second in the WAC and eighth in the nation in passes defended (1.67 pg), tied for ninth in the WAC in interceptions (0.22), and 39th in the WAC in tackles (4.7 pg). Senior safety McKade Brady ranks fourth in the WAC and tied for 82nd in the nation in tackles (8.2 pg).
On special teams, senior punter Tyler Bennett ranks fifth in the WAC and 44th in the nation in punting (42.0 ypk). Senior wide receiver Cameron Webb ranks third in the WAC and 36th in the nation in punt returns (9.2 ypr). Senior wide receiver Chuck Jacobs ranks fourth in the WAC and 43rd in the nation in kick returns (23.5 ypr).
Other individuals who rank among the WAC’s best statistically include junior linebacker Jake Doughty who ranks eighth in tackles (7.2 pg); sophomore safety Brian Suite who ranks 17th in tackles (6.6 pg); junior cornerback Nevin Lawson who ranks 27th in tackles (5.4 pg); senior linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu who ranks 34th in tackles (5.1 pg); senior cornerback Terrence Alston who ranks seventh in the WAC and tied for 85th in the nation in passes defended (0.89 pg); junior defensive lineman Connor Williams who ranks tied for fourth in the WAC and tied for 74th in the nation in sacks (0.56 pg); and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jordan Nielsen who ranks sixth in the WAC and tied for 100th in the nation in sacks (0.44 pg).
Utah State (7-2, 3-0 WAC) is off to its best start to a season since the 1978 team won seven of its first nine games, while its 3-0 league record is its best since the 2000 team won its first four Big West Conference games. In all, Utah State has won a school-record eight-straight WAC games dating back to last season and is 12-3 in its last 15 games.
Utah State continues WAC play at home this weekend against Texas State (3-4, 1-1 WAC) on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 1 p.m. USU has won each of its last six home games to rank as its best home winning streak since the 1966-68 teams combined for eight-straight home wins.
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.