Through the first five weeks of the college football season, Utah State’s defense has forced 16 turnovers with nine fumbles and seven interceptions to lead the nation. In fact, the Aggies have forced 12 turnovers in their last two games with seven against BYU and five at San José State.
A year ago, USU forced just 10 turnovers the entire season.
Along with ranking first nationally in turnovers forced, Utah State also ranks second in the nation with nine fumble recoveries, trailing only Bowling Green’s 10. Furthermore, USU ranks second in the Mountain West and 10th in the nation with seven interceptions on the season and third in the conference and 18th nationally in turnover margin (+1.00).
With 16 takeaways on the season, Utah State has now forced 126 turnovers in its last 67 games, including at least one turnover in 52 of its last 67 games. The Aggies have also recorded 60 interceptions in their last 54 games, including at least one pick in 29 of their last 54 games and multiple interceptions in 18 of their last 54 games. Overall, USU has forced three or more turnovers in 14 of its last 43 games.
Utah State’s defense has already scored four touchdowns this year to rank tied for first nationally, along with Texas. Senior CB Jalen Davis has scored three of those touchdowns as he had a 30-yard and a 50-yard interception return against BYU and a 25-yard interception return against Idaho State, while freshman LB Maika Magalei returned a fumble 38 yards for a score against San José State. Overall, USU has now scored 15 defensive touchdowns in its last 51 games.
Offensively, Utah State is averaging 34.4 points per game to rank third in the Mountain West and 47th in the nation. The Aggies also rank fourth in the MW and 56th nationally in passing offense (246.4 ypg), fifth in the conference and 56th in the nation in completion percentage (.613), sixth in the league and 69th in the nation in total offense (408.8 ypg), seventh in the MW and 67th in the nation in rushing offense (162.4 ypg), ninth in the MW and 87th in the nation in passing efficiency (124.3) and tied for ninth in the conference and tied for 97th in the nation in sacks allowed (2.60 pg).
Defensively, Utah State is allowing 194.2 passing yards per game to rank fourth in the Mountain West and 37th in the nation, and it is leading the conference and ranks 54th in the nation in passing efficiency defense (122.7). The Aggies also rank sixth in the MW and 77th nationally in sacks (1.80 pg), seventh in the MW and 73rd in the nation in total defense (385.4 ypg), eighth in the conference and 95th in the nation in scoring defense (30.4 ppg) and ninth in the MW and 97th in the nation in rushing defense (191.2 ypg).
On special teams, Utah State ranks second in the Mountain West and sixth in the nation in kickoff return defense (14.4 ypr), fifth in the conference and 41st in the nation in punt returns (9.5 ypr), sixth in the MW and 88th in the nation in net punting (36.5 ypp) and ninth in the conference in kickoff returns (18.0 ypr).
Individually, Davis leads the nation with his five interceptions this season, while his 10 passes defended (five pass breakups, five interceptions) ranks second in the nation as he is averaging 2.0 passes defended per game. The native of La Mesa, California, also ranks first nationally with his three defensive touchdowns.
Kent Myers ranks second in the Mountain West and 31st in the nation in completion percentage (.652). The senior quarterback also ranks third in the conference and 31st in the nation with his five rushing touchdowns, third in the MW and 50th in the nation in completions (18.4 pg), third in the MW and 70th in the nation in passing yards (190.6 ypg), fourth in the MW and 62nd in the nation with his six passing touchdowns, fourth in the MW and 64th in the nation in total offense (234.0 ypg) and sixth in the MW and 79th in the nation in passing efficiency (126.1).
Junior LB Louy Compton ranks first nationally with his two blocked kicks, while junior LB Suli Tamaivena ranks tied for first in the MW and tied for third nationally with his two fumble recoveries and tied for 11th in the MW and tied for 86th in the nation in tackles (8.0 pg). Junior LB Chase Christiansen ranks tied for second in the MW and tied for 23rd nationally with his two fumble recoveries and 16th in the conference in tackles (7.6 pg).
Redshirt freshman WR Jordan Nathan ranks third in the MW and 25th in the nation in punt returns (10.2 ypr), while junior WR Ron’quavion Tarver ranks seventh in the MW and 60th in the nation in receptions (5.0 pg).
Junior BS Gaje Ferguson ranks tied for 25th in the MW in tackles (6.4 pg), and senior BS Dallin Leavitt ranks tied for 30th in the MW in tackles (5.8 pg).
Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle ranks first in the MW and sixth in the nation in field goals made (2.0 pg), third in the MW and 13th in the nation in field goal percentage (.909) and third in the MW and 22nd in the nation in scoring (9.8 ppg).
And finally, junior P Aaron Dalton ranks fifth in the MW and 50th in the nation in punting (42.2 ypp).
Utah State remains home this weekend when the Aggies welcome Mountain West foe Colorado State to town on Saturday, Oct. 7. The game is slated to kick off at 2:30 p.m., and will be televised live on AT&T Sports.