Last season, Utah State demostrated a flair for the dramatic in almost every game, including its conference contests. While 10 of USU's 13 games were decided by one score or less, six of those seven nailbiters took place in the WAC.
That's not the case so far this season. After a 38-7 romp of Texas State Saturday at Romney Stadium, the Aggies have defeated four conference opponents by almost 30 points-per-game.
OFFENSE: The Aggies' 593 total yards were a season-high. Quarterback Chuckie Keeton (20-27, 316 yards, four touchdowns) may have thrown two interceptions, but he still had a fine day. All four touchtown tosses came in the first half. Keeton hasn't by any means defined himself as a deep-ball passer, but he demonstrated plenty of that Saturday with 60 yard-plus bombs to receivers Chuck Jacobs and Matt Austin (twice). Jacobs' 64-yard reception was the longest of his career and the deepest since last season's huge comeback Nov. 5 at Hawaii. Kerwynn Williams (19 carries, 129 yards) became the 11th player in USU history to reach the 1,000-yard rushing mark. This unit showed that it may even be better than its current national rankings, from 38th (rushing yards) to 50th (scoring). Then again, the Bobcat scoring defense came into the contest ranked just 89th nationally. GRADE: A-
DEFENSE: This group did excellent work considering the only yielded touchdown came when the Bobcat offense needed to go only 5 yards to get it. Defensive lineman Jamie Clavell-Head set it up when he snatched a dump-pass attempt from Keeton. The Bobcats managed just 158 total yards and even switched quarterbacks to junior Tyler Arndt after Shaun Rutherford (8-15, 71 yards, sacked three times) couldn't generate anything. But Arndt wasn't better by any means: 2 of 8 for five yards. GRADE: A
SPECIAL TEAMS: Just two games removed from WAC Player of the Week recognition, Nick Diaz continued to show some leg with a 48-yard conversion with 6:04 left in the third quarter. He did miss a 50-yard field goal in the last period. USU special teams coach Bill Busch said this week that Diaz is more equipped to handle such long attempts because he has now recovered from an injury. That caused him to redshirt last season after being the Aggies' kickoff specialist in 2010. GRADE: B+
OVERALL: The Aggies again asserted they are at another level than five of the seven teams this season in the conference, as the WAC dominance continued. Perhaps that will change Nov. 17, in their potentially effectual WAC title game at nationally ranked Louisiana Tech. GRADE: A-
Rhett Wilkinson studies interesting stuff at Utah State University and is the co-founder of Aggie BluePrint, USU's first student magazine. Previously a Deseret News intern, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or tweet him @wilklogan
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company