Doug Robinson: If close counted, the Utah State Aggies would be national champs

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 24 2013 1:29 p.m. MDT


You know who would be national champions if close counted?

Utah State’s football team.

Last week’s three-point loss to USC in the Coliseum is just the latest in a string of narrow defeats.

The Aggies’ won-loss records over the past two-plus seasons are 7-6, 11-2 and 2-2 (so far). But if not for fumbles, missed field goals, onside kicks, extra-point failures, blocked punts and more, they could very well be 29-1, or possibly, if you’re really reaching, 30-0.

“That would be pretty sweet,” said USU coach Matt Wells. “I didn’t think about it like that. That’s very interesting.”

They’ve lost 10 games since 2011 and nine of them were by a touchdown or less (the other was by 10 points). They held the lead in the second half in nine of them. They held the lead in the fourth quarter in seven of them. They outgained their opponents in eight of them (the two losses to BYU being the exceptions). They have given up game-winning touchdowns in the final 42 seconds in four of them.

“You can’t point your finger on one thing — offense, defense, special teams,” says Wells. “It’s been pretty consistent — it’s a team game.”

The good news: USU, one of the worst teams in the country only a few years ago, can go toe to toe with quality opponents. They’ve won 18 of their last 23 games, losing by deficits of 1, 2, 3, 4 and 3 points, respectively.

The bad news: They can’t quite finish the job.

“USU has come a long way in the last 15 years,” says Wells. “Those games used to be 40-point blowouts. Now we’re going into Auburn and the Coliseum and Madison and Utah and BYU and playing for the win in the fourth quarter. It’s still a burning desire to try to get it flipped and win some of those games. But to go play USC on the road against a top-10 defense and have the game go down to the last possession, I’ll take it.”

Here’s a look at what might have been for USU.

Doug Robinson's columns run on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Email: drob@deseretnews.com

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Horrible Stumper
Hyrum, UT

Doug-Seriously are you trying to kill me here. This is like rubbing salt into a gigantic open wound. Believe me, the Aggies will one day win these games. Matt Wells is a good coach and will get us a couple of these in the near future.

Salt Lake City, UT

"But the Ags fumbled the punt and the Rams recovered the ball at the 15-yard line." Returner: Let it GO!

"The Badgers responded with an 82-yard punt return for a TD:"
Kicker: Kick it OB!

"The Aggies, who never led in the second half, had a chance to tie the game with 7:47 left in the game, but Josh Thompson’s 38-yard field goal attempt was wide left."

"but the Trojans added a fourth-quarter field goal — their only score of the second half — to hold off the Aggies."

"The Aggies took a 23-14 lead early in the third quarter, but missed the PAT kick. Utah cut the lead to 23-17 with a field goal, then recovered an onside kick and launched a scoring drive to take a 24-23 lead. A Diaz field goal gave USU a 26-24 lead in the fourth quarter, but Utah answered with two field goals."
Kick it STRAIGHT. BLOCK that kick!

Any wonder Urban coaches special teams himself?

to comment

DeseretNews.com encourages a civil dialogue among its readers. We welcome your thoughtful comments.
About comments