AP
Utah State running back Darwin Thompson (5) carries the ball for a 65-yard touchdown as Tennessee Tech defensive back A.J. Flemister (11) defends during an NCAA college football game, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/Herald Journal via AP)

LOGAN — Despite a short week, Utah State demolished visiting Tennessee Tech 73-12 on Thursday night.

"I'm proud of our team and our guys for their level of preparation this week," said head coach Matt Wells after the game. "Plenty of praise to go around."

Whether we were passing or running we were executing our plays and just moving the ball on every play.
Jordan Love

Jordan Love may have only been in the game for one half, but he absolutely lit up the Tennessee Tech defense. The sophomore finished the night 21 of 26 for 236 yards and two touchdowns passing with one more touchdown on the ground for good measure. Backup QB Henry Colombi wasn't bad either as he went 9 for 9 for 55 yards passing with another 22 yards on three rushing attempts.

"Whether we were passing or running we were executing our plays and just moving the ball on every play," said Love after the game. "We prepared really well this week. No matter who it is, you've got to go out there and perform."

"(Love) has a ton of confidence, and he's got weapons around him," said Wells. "As a quarterback when you look around you're like I've got some legit wideouts, two really good tight ends, the running backs are playing well, and I've got a senior-dominated offensive line in front of me. I think that gives him confidence."

Darwin Thompson added another long touchdown run to his already impressive resume. This time he took the ball 65 yards to the house. He led all Aggies with 107 yards on just six rushing attempts. Six different Aggies scored a rushing touchdown.

The defense also added another turnover as safety Gaje Ferguson picked up the second interception of his career, while Dalton Baker had forced a fumble late in the fourth quarter recovered by Ofa Latu. Defensive end Fua Leilua made 3.5 tackles for loss as the Aggies were in the opposing backfield early and often. Utah State finished the night with 12 tackles-for-loss against the Golden Eagles.

"Some of the young guys were able to get in the second half and I was really happy for them," said Leilua. "We're a really versatile defense and we're deep at all positions. We're going to be the defense to compete within the Mountain West."

Special teams also had a nice night as Jordan Nathan had a 59-yard punt return for a touchdown. Meanwhile, Dominik Eberle had a busy night on extra points but a quiet one on field goals as he made his only attempt of the night from 34 yards.

But despite the big win, it wasn't quite a flawless victory for Utah State. Dax Raymond fumbled the ball on the first play for the USU offense, and Tennessee Tech was able to cash that turnover into a field goal. Aaren Vaughns also fumbled the ball on a kickoff return in the third quarter.

Still, Utah State was able to play a lot of young players particularly with the changes in the redshirt rules. "We played with a true freshman offensive line I think for the entire fourth quarter, so it's neat to see those guys go out and get rewarded," Wells said.

Now attention turns to the conference opener a week from Saturday against Air Force.

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"Our guys are ready for Air Force," Wells said. "They were talking about it in the fourth quarter already. We're going to use the extra days to get ready for them. It will be good for us physically. Air Force is coming off a bye week, so it will be good for us to use a couple of days. A Thursday night game minimizes the fact that they're coming off a bye week."

And Wells wasn't shy in calling on the Aggie faithful to fill the stands for this next game.

"We need to get the top deck on the east side filled in. We need to get the west side filled in. The season ticket holders need to be there. I know that the HERD will show up," Wells said. "It's only late game one in the year. I'll make sure that gets in print. It's our only late one of the year. So let's get everybody out. There's no reason Maverik Stadium shouldn't be rockin'."