While the Aggie offense certainly didn't confuse Utah Saturday night, the Aggie punting game sure did.
Coach Dave Arslanian unveiled something called the "attack punt" with quarterback Riley Jensen doing the punting from about half the distance behind the line of scrimmage as a normal punter.Jensen lined up about seven yards behind the line of scrimmage, as if in shotgun formation. That kept Utah from putting anyone back on fourth down, and Jensen would then boot the ball to a wide-open field with no return. It gave the Aggies excellent field position several times.
After a 26-yard punt that ended inside the 20, Jensen proceeded to boot punts of 63, 49 and 52, none of which was returned. One set up the Aggies safety. Finally, in the second half the Utes caught on, and Daniel Jones returned a Jensen punt 27 yards. Otherwise it was a successful strategy for USU.
Although it didn't happen Saturday night, Arslanian said to look for the Aggies to occasionally run or pass the ball rather than punt on those fourth-down plays.
NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY: So Jensen must have been a punter in high school or junior college, right?
The last time Jensen actually punted in a game was 10 years ago in little league football.
A LITTLE MORE EXPERIENCE: Arslanian was hoping his team could score late in the fourth quarter when the Aggies twice got the ball in Utah territory in the final five minutes. Arslanian said he was willing to take his chances in overtime if the Aggies could have scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion.
"As a coaching staff we are pretty experienced when it comes to tiebreakers," said Arslanian.
Let's just say he's more experienced than Utah's Ron McBride, who has never been involved in an overtime since Division I-A adopted the tiebreaker two years ago. Division I-AA, where Arslanian coached for nine years, has had OTs for years.
Arslanian was only involved in one tiebreaker, but he has a perfect record, having defeated Idaho State in double overtime in 1990.
AGGIE UPDATE: The women's volleyball team won two of three games at the Portland Invitational last weekend, defeating Jacksonville and Portland in three-game sweeps and losing to Eastern Washington. Melissa Schoepf led the team with 24 kills and four aces and was named to the all-tournament team . . . The women's soccer team got off to a strong start, beating Idaho State and Weber State at home before falling to Utah 2-0 in Salt Lake. Jayme Gordy got two goals for the Aggies . . . Holly Hansen finished second overall to lead the USU cross country team to first place at the Bengal Invitational in Pocatello. The men, led by Glen Busch, finished fourth.