The Aggies knew the way to San Jose. The Aggies almost found the way to beat San Jose.
But the big question this week is, does anybody remember the way to Romney Stadium?That's the one in Logan, on the Utah State University campus, where the Aggies haven't played a game since Sept. 8. The last six weeks: Bye. Bye. At Missouri. At Oregon. At Fresno. At San Jose.
Now, finally, a home game. A homecoming, in fact. Against UNLV.
Yes, after that six-week road trip, the Aggies are 1-4-1, 1-1-1 in the Big West, but now they have an offense.
Neither coaches nor players took solace in it Saturday night after a 34-27 loss to first-place San Jose - they were unanimously distressed at losing because of their own mistakes - but the offense had a marvelous night for the second week in a row, and the defense held its own, without Del Lyles (stinger) much of the time against the most-complete offense in the Big West.
After going down 17-0 in the first quarter - 10-0 before the offense ever even touched the ball - the Aggies put up some numbers of their own. They didn't add up to a win, but:
- Utah State had 29 first downs to San Jose's 18. The 29 ties for second-best in the Aggie record book, where the all-time mark is 30. Six of those first downs came by penalty, an Aggie record and a credit to quarterback Ron Lopez, who drew the defense offside three times on third down with his cadences. He did it twice on second down, too.
- Lopez's 28 completed passes ties for fifth in Aggie history, and his 49 passes attempted ties for sixth.
- Lopez's 348 yards passing is the 13th-best total by an Aggie.
- Utah State had 145 more yards in the air than San Jose and managed to round up 52 net yards rushing (San Jose 185). The rushing total looks weak, but San Jose had allowed three teams a total of 14 yards rushing in its other Big West games.
- Rod Moore's 149 yards (on 10 catches) ties for 15th-best in the USU record book and is his best day.
For the Aggie defense:
- San Jose quarterback Ralph Martini had thrown for 11 touchdowns in his three previous games - four apiece against Pac-10 teams Stanford and California and three against Long Beach State. He had two against the Aggies. He had passes for at least 300 yards in each of his last three weeks but had 203 vs. USU.
- Linebacker Kevin Bouwman added 12 tackles to his USU career record, now up to 349. Toby Tyler added 10 and Tom Hansen nine, two for loss.
The biggest problem for Utah State - besides its own mistakes (two interceptions, a lost fumble and an untouched kickoff recovered by San Jose, which scored soon after to go up 10-0 just 3:04 into the game) - was Sheldon Canley. The No. 1 all-purpose runner in the nation got a little better than his average, totaling 220 yards on 133 yards rushing, -6 receiving and 93 on kickoff returns. Canley scored once.