After a solid first week of the college football season for the three FBS teams in the Beehive State, Week 2 was a little bit more of a mixed bag for the trio on Saturday.
On the most positive end, the Utah State Aggies rolled over the New Mexico State Aggies at home in a rematch of last year’s Arizona Bowl, 60-13. The Utah Utes beat the Northern Illinois Huskies on the road, but the game was closer than even the 17-6 final score indicates. Finally, the BYU Cougars took a step backward after their opening week win over the Arizona Wildcats with a 21-18 loss to the Cal Golden Bears at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Dominik Eberle: It might be weird that a kicker would be the most impactful player for a team that scored 60 points in a game, but Eberle was that for the Aggies on a night he earned some redemption.
One of the best kickers in the country in 2017, Eberle had an off game in the Arizona Bowl, missing three field goals in a 26-20 USU loss. On Saturday, he made all six of his field goal attempts (including three from 51 yards out) and all six of his extra point tries.
Chase Hansen: On a night when the Utah Utes struggled to put points on the board, Hansen led the defense to ensure his team would avoid an upset loss. He finished with 12 tackles and two sacks, but most importantly, he made the play of the game to seal the win.
The Utes led 10-6 with 2:45 remaining, but the Huskies had possession of the ball. On the first play of the drive, however, Hansen returned an interception to the end zone for a touchdown, putting the game out of reach.
Dayan Ghanwoloku: The BYU offense was also bad on Saturday, but Ghanwoloku certainly did his part on defense and special teams to keep the Cougars close. In the third quarter, he scooped up a fumble caused by a great hit from Butch Pau’u and returned it for a touchdown to cut BYU’s deficit to 14-10. Then in the fourth quarter, he recovered a muffed punt at the 16-yard-line, although the Cougars were unable to turn the great field position into points.
Numbers to know
24, 3: Eberle’s 24 points tied the NCAA record for most kicking points in a game, and his three long-distance field goals also tied the NCAA record for most in a game from 50+ yards.
8: Saturday marked the first time in eight years that Utah scored 17 or fewer points in a game and still won (the Utes beat BYU 17-16 in 2010). In 2008, Utah beat New Mexico and TCU in back-to-back games by a score of 13-10.
49: A week after nearly reaching the 100-yard mark, BYU running back Squally Canada was held to just 49 yards on 16 carries Saturday night.
Play of the night
Hansen’s pick-6 takes the honors both because of the play itself, but also because it was such a crucial moment in the game (that highlight starts at the :35 mark of the video below):