For a couple of error-prone football teams, Cal-Fullerton and Utah State were surprisingly mistake-free Saturday at Santa Ana Stadium.
It was the first time for either team this season that there wasn't either a lost fumble or an interception listed on the final statistical sheet.Utah State's side of the log also showed zeroes in the punting and sack categories, which helped the Aggies pile up their third straight win, 45-17, and go to .500 (4-4-1) for the season, 4-1-1 in the Big West.
Meanwhile, Utah State sacked Fullerton's quarterback, Terry Payne, a redshirt freshman playing because of an injury to Paul Schulte, five times and forced Phil Nevin to punt three times. Nevin, the Big West's No. 2 punter, didn't gain any ground on the No. 1 punter, Aggie Rusty Carlsen, who's only had to kick once in the last two games but maintains a 41.92-yard average. Nevin is about a yard behind.
In its first 10 games this season, Fullerton had lost 18 fumbles - at least one in every game - and thrown 17 interceptions, five in one game alone. The Titans were minus-13 in giveaway/takeaway ratio.
The Aggies were only minus-4 in giveaway/takeaway, but they had lost 13 fumbles and 12 interceptions. This was their second straight game free of lost fumbles.
Fullerton did contribute to its own demise, though, with ill-timed penalties. On the second play of Utah State's second touchdown drive, a second-and-10 situation, Fullerton jumped offside, enticed by Aggie quarterback Ron Lopez's voice inflections. Lopez threw a 94-yard touchdown pass to Rod Moore on the next play, second-and-5.
On the Aggies' third drive, Fullerton interfered with receiver Dexter Pointer on a second-and-8 pass at its own 16-yard line. Two plays later, Lopez hit Tracey Jenkins with a 7-yard TD pass, and Doug Beach's kick made it 28-7.
Two Titan pass interferences helped keep the Aggies' first drive of the second half going long enough for Beach to kick the first of his two field goals for a 31-10 lead.
And a roughing the passer penalty on the Titans on an incomplete Lopez-to-Moore try on third-and-6 from the Fullerton 18 gave the Aggies first down at the 10. Roger Grant scored his second TD of the game on runs of 2 and 8 yards, and that made it 38-10.
AGGIE ACHES - Backup center Kip Loy, who's played a lot in relief of an injured Warren Bowers, left the game on crutches with an Achilles tendon injury. The man playing next to center, left guard Joe Moore, also went out with an ankle injury.