It's difficult to complain after a 47-17 victory over anybody, and Utah State coach Dave Arslanian wasn't complaining much after his team brushed aside Sam Houston State Saturday night.
The Aggies took control of the game in the second quarter with a couple of long touchdown passes from Riley Jensen to Robert Scott and cruised on home.The victory put smiles back on the faces of the Aggies after three tough opening losses and took some pressure off heading into a tough month, starting Saturday night when Oregon State comes to town.
Still there are a few things the Ags must be concerned about as they get ready for two Pac-10 opponents (OSU and Washington) before starting Big West play.
- The running game. Despite John Roberts' 118-yard performance, the Aggies still only managed 153 rushing yards against a I-AA opponent. Take away two plays (43 and 16 yards) when Roberts picked up half of his yards, and the Aggie running game looked almost as impotent as it did in the previous two games.
- Consistent passing. Quarterback Riley Jensen passed for 317 yards and four touchdowns but was under 50 percent for the third time in four weeks with 15 of 31 completions against inferior competition.
- Demario Brown. The junior running back missed his second game in a row with a bad ankle and some folks are starting to wonder when he'll ever play for the Aggies. Last year, it was a knee injury that kept him out of several games and this summer camp he sat out with a hip pointer. He's supposed to play this week, but we'll believe it when we see it.
- The Aggie punt unit. It has given up 18 points this year, including a touchdown on a return, one on a blocked punt and three safeties. The latest mishap came Saturday night in the fourth quarter when Jerry Arguello's punt try was blocked out of the end zone for a safety.
- Penalties. The Aggies had nine for 88 yards, including one that wiped out a spectacular 91-yard punt return by freshman Tony Walker. A week earlier in Colorado, they had 15 penalties.
The Aggies are making progress every week and are still pointing toward the Big West season and a possible return trip to the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise. It won't be easy as evidenced by Saturday night's results when three Big West schools defeated WAC schools (Boise State over Utah, New Mexico State over UTEP and Nevada over Fresno State).
"Overall I was very pleased with our team and the way they maintained their focus throughout the game," said Arslanian.
Score: USU 47, Sam Houston St. 17
Record: 1-3, 0-0 BWC
Offense: Finally, some yards - 153 rushing and 317 passing. Riley Jensen to Robert Scott produces 210 yards and 3 TDs. Grade: B
Defense: Not quite as sharp as a week earlier but still comes up with 3 turnovers and holds opponent under 200 yards. Grade: B+
Special teams: Brad Bohn stays perfect with another field goal and 6 PATs. For the third straight game, punt team gives up safety. Grade: C+
Next up: Oregon State, Saturday.