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MWC Championship live blog: Utah State rally ends on interception as Fresno State holds on, 24-17

Published: Saturday, Dec. 7 2013 11:45 p.m. MST

Utah State Aggies wide receiver Brandon Swindall (11) drops a pass as Fresno State Bulldogs defensive back Jonathan Norton (37) defends during the Mountain West Football Championship game at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Calif. on Saturday, December 7, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News) Utah State Aggies wide receiver Brandon Swindall (11) drops a pass as Fresno State Bulldogs defensive back Jonathan Norton (37) defends during the Mountain West Football Championship game at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Calif. on Saturday, December 7, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News)

Utah State tried to rally without starting quarterback Darell Garretson, but the Aggies came up short in falling to Fresno State 24-17 in the MWC Championship Game on Saturday night.

Garretson took a big shot early in the fourth quarter and was replaced by Craig Harrison. Two plays later, Bruce Natson rushed for 10 yards for the Aggies' first offensive touchdown of the game to make it 24-14.

The Aggies then pooched kick on the ensuing kickoff and Nick Vigil recovered for Utah State. A Nick Diaz 20-yard field goal with nine minutes remaining pulled the Aggies within seven.

Utah State twice had chances to drive for a game-tying score late, but the final opportunity ended when Harrison was intercepted deep in Fresno State territory with under a minute to play.

Fresno State built a 24-7 lead through the first three quarters behind the strong arm of Derek Carr, who threw for 404 yards and three touchdowns.

Utah State Aggies wide receiver Bruce Natson (9) reacts after a late fourth quarter interception that sealed the Aggies loss to the Fresno State Bulldogs during the Mountain West Football Championship game at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Calif. on Saturday, December 7, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News) Utah State Aggies wide receiver Bruce Natson (9) reacts after a late fourth quarter interception that sealed the Aggies loss to the Fresno State Bulldogs during the Mountain West Football Championship game at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Calif. on Saturday, December 7, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News)

But the Utah State defense, which gave up 321 passing yards in the first half, stiffened in the second half and gave the Aggies a chance to stay close. That came despite the USU offense not being able to score any points off two Brian Suite interceptions in the third quarter.

The Aggies will now wait to find out their bowl fate.

Deseret News web sports senior writer Brandon Judd posted updates from tonight's MWC championship football game between Utah State and Fresno State in addition to posting commentary from social media. Check out the final few minutes of the live blog below.

Utah State Aggies cornerback Quinton Byrd (3) walks off the field following the Aggies 24-17 loss to Fresno State during the Mountain West Football Championship game at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Calif. on Saturday, December 7, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News) Utah State Aggies cornerback Quinton Byrd (3) walks off the field following the Aggies 24-17 loss to Fresno State during the Mountain West Football Championship game at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Calif. on Saturday, December 7, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News)

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