USU football: Aggies continue to be ranked among top defenses in the nation
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Following its only bye week of the 2012 season, Utah State’s defense continues to be ranked with the best in the nation and is listed among the top six defenses in the nation in three different statistical categories and among the top 20 defenses in five different statistical categories.
Utah State ranks first in the Western Athletic Conference and fifth in the country in rushing defense (94.6 ypg). USU also ranks first in the WAC and sixth nationally in sacks (3.50 pg), first in the WAC and sixth in the nation in scoring defense (13.5 ppg), first in the WAC and 12th in the nation in total defense (303.3 ypg), first in the WAC and 20th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (111.3), and second in the WAC and 38th in the nation in passing defense (208.7 ypg).
Furthermore, Utah State’s defense is allowing its opponents to convert just 32.0 percent of its third downs (54-169), which ranks second in the WAC and 22nd in the nation.
In the red zone, Utah State’s defense has kept its opponents to score on 19-of-29 (.655) possessions to lead the WAC and rank ninth in the nation. Of those 29 trips USU’s opponents have made to the red zone, they have come away with just 10 touchdowns and nine field goals, to go along with two missed field goals, three interceptions, one fumble and a loss on downs four times.
Utah State’s defense has also played well in the first-half this year as it is out-scoring its opponents 103-6 in the first quarter. The Aggies have also had a 206-45 scoring advantage in the first-half this season as they have held eight of their 10 opponents scoreless in the first quarter and three opponents scoreless in the first half.
Overall, USU and Penn State are the only two teams in the nation who have not allowed a first quarter touchdown on the season. After producing a season-high 593 yards of total offense in its last game against Texas State, Utah State now ranks second in the WAC and 28th in the nation in total offense (463.0 ypg).
USU also ranks second in the WAC and 42nd in the nation in rushing offense (187.1 ypg), third in the WAC and 15th in the nation in passing efficiency (157.3), third in the WAC and 34th in the nation in passing offense (275.9 ypg), third in the WAC and 38th in the nation in sacks allowed (1.50 pg), and third in the WAC and 42nd in the nation in scoring offense (32.0 ppg).
As for special teams, Utah State ranks third in the WAC and and 31st in the nation in punt returns (10.6 ypr), third in the WAC and 34th in the nation in net punting (38.7 ypk), and fifth in the WAC and 70th in the nation in kickoff returns (21.1 ypr).
Offensively, senior running back Kerwynn Williams ranks first in the WAC and 19th in the nation in all-purpose yards (150.4 ypg), second in the WAC and 34th in the nation in rushing (100.5 ypg), fifth in the WAC and tied for 80th in the nation in scoring (7.2 ppg), and eighth in the WAC in total offense (100.5 ypg). Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks second in the WAC and 15th in the nation in total offense (307.7 ypg), third in the WAC and 16th in the nation in passing efficiency (158.8), third in the WAC and 28th in the nation in passing (267.1 ypg), and ninth in the WAC in rushing (40.6 ypg).
Defensively, senior cornerback Will Davis ranks first in the WAC and tied for fourth in the nation in passes defended (1.70 pg), tied for fifth in the WAC and tied for 39th in the nation in interceptions (0.30 pg), and tied for 39th in the WAC in tackles (4.7 pg). Sophomore linebacker Zach Vigil ranks tied for second in the WAC and tied for 98th in the nation in tackles for loss (0.90 pg), tied for fifth in the WAC and tied for 79th in the nation in sacks (0.50 pg), and tied for fifth in the WAC in tackles (7.7 pg). Senior safety McKade Brady ranks third in the WAC and tied for 76th in the nation in tackles (8.1 pg).
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