On a night where the most powerful offense in the WAC went toe-to-toe with a top-15 scoring defense, the defense came out the winner as the Utah State Aggies defeated the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, 48-41, in overtime Saturday night in Ruston, La.
Utah State led Tech by 17 heading into the fourth quarter, but the Bulldogs reeled off 17 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, kicking a game-tying field goal as time expired to send the game into overtime.
The Aggies started overtime with the ball and ran it straight at Tech. Kerwynn Williams scored the go-ahead touchdown on a 4-yard rush straight down the middle, and Nick Diaz successfully converted a PAT to put the Aggies ahead by seven.
When the Bulldogs subsequently got the ball, QB Colby Cameron ran for 2 yards on first down, threw for 5 more on second and threw incomplete on third down. Running Back Ray Holley was stuffed at the line of scrimmage on 4th-and-3, and the Aggies came away with the victory.
This win puts the Aggies on a fast track to the WAC championship and makes a national ranking very likely. It is Utah State's first road win against a ranked team in program history and the second win ever against any ranked team. The only team that stands in USU's way of claiming the outright WAC title is Idaho, which only has one win on the season against New Mexico State.
Saturday's game was an offensive explosion for both teams. Utah State racked up 646 yards of total offense (340 passing, 306 rushing), and the Bulldogs rallied up 629 yards of their own (396 passing, 233 rushing).
Key defensive stops highlighted USU's play down the stretch. A late fourth-quarter interception by the Aggies forced a rolling Tech offense to use up more time than it would have liked as it sought to catch up to Utah State.
The first half was a completely different story than the second half. The Aggies led the Bulldogs 17-3 at the half.
Utah State extended its remarkable streak of first-quarter dominance. The Aggies have outscored their opponents in the first quarter by more than 100 points over the course of the season.
The only other time that La. Tech had trailed by a significant margin this season was against Texas A&M, the same A&M team that knocked off No. 1 Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. last weekend.
USU's game against Idaho takes place Saturday, Nov. 24 at 1 p.m. MST. If the Aggies beat the Vandals, they will earn the program's first 10-win season in school history and their first outright conference title in decades.