USU football: Aggies rank eighth in the nation in scoring defense

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Nov. 26 2012 11:55 a.m. MST

Following its 45-9 win against Idaho, where it forced four turnovers and allowed just 210 yards of total offense, Utah State’s defense is listed among the top 16 defenses in the country in five different statistical categories.

Utah State ranks first in the Western Athletic Conference and eighth in the nation in scoring defense (15.4 ppg). USU also ranks second in the WAC and eighth nationally in sacks (3.25 pg), second in the WAC and 13th in the country in rushing defense (111.4 ypg), first in the WAC and 14th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (107.0), first in the WAC and 16th in the nation in total defense (322.7 ypg), and first in the WAC and 37th in the nation in passing defense (211.2 ypg).

Utah State’s defense is allowing its opponents to convert just 32.7 percent of its third downs, which ranks first in the WAC and 20th in the nation.

Utah State’s opponents have scored on 25-of-39 (.641) possessions in the red zone to lead the WAC and rank tied for fifth in the nation in red zone defense efficiency. Of those 39 trips USU’s opponents have made into the red zone, they have come away with just 13 touchdowns and 12 field goals, to go along with two missed field goals, five interceptions, one fumble and a loss on downs five times.

Utah State’s defense has also played well in the first-half this year as it is out-scoring its opponents 131-6 in the first quarter and has a 244-54 scoring advantage in the first-half.

Utah State is the only team in the nation that has not allowed a first quarter touchdown on the season.

After producing 250 yards of total offense in its last game against Idaho, Utah State now ranks second in the WAC and 27th in the nation in total offense (460.5 ypg). USU also ranks second in the WAC and 15th in the nation in passing efficiency (155.1), third in the WAC and 35th in the nation in scoring offense (34.4 ppg), third in the WAC and 36th in the nation in sacks allowed (1.50 pg), second in the WAC and 37th in the nation in rushing offense (192.5 ypg), and third in the WAC and 38th in the nation in passing offense (268.0 ypg).

As for special teams, Utah State ranks third in the WAC and 37th in the nation in punt returns (10.3 ypr), fourth in the WAC and 39th in the nation in net punting (38.2 ypk), and fourth in the WAC and 57th in the nation in kickoff returns (22.0 ypr).

Offensively, senior running back Kerwynn Williams ranks first in the WAC and 11th in the nation in all-purpose yards (163.0 ypg), first in the WAC and 24th in the nation in rushing (106.4 ypg), third in the WAC and tied for 36th in the nation in scoring (8.5 ppg), seventh in the WAC in total offense (106.4 ypg), and eighth in the WAC in receiving (55.2 ypg). Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks second in the WAC and 15th in the nation in passing efficiency (156.7), second in the WAC and 17th in the nation in total offense (305.9 ypg), third in the WAC and 31st in the nation in passing (262.0 ypg), and eighth in the WAC in rushing (43.9 ypg).

Defensively, senior cornerback Will Davis leads the nation in passes defended (1.75 pg), ranks second in the WAC and tied for 11th in the nation in interceptions (0.42 pg), and tied for 39th in the WAC in tackles (4.7 pg). Sophomore linebacker Zach Vigil ranks fourth in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.79 pg), tied for fourth in the WAC and tied for 84th in the nation in tackles (8.0 pg), and tied for fifth in the WAC and tied for 95th in the nation in sacks (0.46 pg). Junior linebacker Jake Doughty ranks second in the WAC and 69th in the nation in tackles (8.4 pg).

On special teams, senior punter Tyler Bennett ranks fifth in the WAC and 42nd in the nation in punting (41.8 ypk). Senior wide receiver Cameron Webb ranks third in the WAC and tied for 38th in the nation in punt returns (8.8 ypr). Senior wide receiver Chuck Jacobs ranks third in the WAC and 40th in the nation in kick returns (24.5 ypr), and ninth in the WAC in all-purpose yards (89.4 ypg).

Other individuals who rank among the WAC’s best statistically, include senior wide receiver Matt Austin who ranks ninth in the WAC in receiving (54.3 ypg); senior safety McKade Brady who ranks tied for seventh in the WAC and tied for 90th in the nation in tackles (7.9 pg); redshirt freshman linebacker Kyler Fackrell who ranks tied for eighth in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.67 pg), 10th in the WAC in interceptions (0.17) and 11th in the WAC in tackles (7.0 pg); sophomore safety Brian Suite who ranks 22nd in the WAC in tackles (6.0 pg); junior cornerback Nevin Lawson who ranks 10th in the WAC in passes defended (0.75 pg) and tied for 32nd in the WAC in tackles (5.1 pg); senior linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu who ranks tied for eighth in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.67), 10th in the WAC in sacks (0.33 pg) and tied for 34th in the WAC in tackles (5.0 pg); junior defensive lineman Connor Williams who ranks tied for seventh in the WAC in sacks (0.42 pg); and redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jordan Nielsen who ranks tied for seventh in the WAC in sacks (0.42 pg).

Utah State concludes its 2012 season at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 2:30 p.m. (MT) against a team yet to be announced from the Mid-American Conference.

Tickets for the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl are available online, by phone at (208) 426-4737 or at the Bronco Stadium ticket office.

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

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