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Aggies Host Air Force In Mountain West Opener Saturday Night

Wednesday, Sep. 19, 2018


USU football players on the field

AIR FORCE (1-1, 0-0 MW) vs. UTAH STATE (2-1, 0-0 MW)
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018 • 8:15 p.m. (MT) • Logan, Utah • Maverik Stadium (25,100)
 
GAME 4 INFORMATION
TV: ESPN2

• Play-by-Play: Roy Philpott
• Analyst: Tom Ramsey
 
RADIO: AGGIE SPORTS NETWORK
• Play-by-Play: Scott Garrard
• Analyst: Kevin White
• Online: 1280thezone.com / Tunein.com
• National: Sirius 121 / XM 384 / Internet 978
 
SOCIAL MEDIA: #AGGIESALLTHEWAY
• Twitter/Instagram: @USUFootball
• Facebook: USUFootball
• YouTube: UtahStateFootball
• Live Stats: UtahState.Statbroadcast.com
 
AGGIE RADIO NETWORK
• Every Utah State football game can be heard live on the Aggie Radio Network. Scott Garrard serves as the play-by-play announcer, while former USU quarterback Kevin White (1988-89) will provide color analysis. Games can also be heard on the Internet (www.UtahStateAggies.com) by clicking on the 'Listen Live' link, as well as on the TuneIn App.
• Salt Lake City: KZNS (1280 AM/97.5 FM)
• Logan: KBLU-LP (92.3 FM)
• Cache Valley: KACH (1340 AM/105.5 FM)
• Montpelier, ID: KVSI (1450 AM/101.7 FM)
• Price: KRPX (95.3 FM)
• Green River: KRPX (102.7 FM)
• Moab: KRPX (100.3 FM)
• Orangeville: KRPX (95.9 FM)
 
KICKOFF COVERAGE
• Utah State (2-1, 0-0 MW) will host Air Force (1-1, 0-0 MW) in the Mountain West opener for both teams on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 8:15 p.m., in a nationally televised game on ESPN2. USU is 2-4 all-time against the Falcons, including a 1-1 home record.
 
• Utah State is 23-17 (.575) all-time in the Mountain West, including a 13-7 (.650) home record, and has won 34 of its last 51 (.667) league games dating back to 2011.
 
• Utah State will be looking to start a season 3-1 for the first time since 2012 and for just the second time since 1978.
 
• Utah State is beginning conference play at home for the fourth time in the last five years and is 4-1 all-time in Mountain West openers, with its only loss coming to Air Force (27-20) in 2016. Overall, USU is 32-26-3 (.549) all-time in conference openers, including winning five of its last six, and has a 19-13 (.594) home record in league openers.
 
• Utah State and Air Force are meeting in a conference opener for the third time in series history, as USU posted a 52-20 road win in 2013 in its first-ever Mountain West game, while AFA notched a 27-20 win in Logan in 2016.
 
• Utah State is 2-0 at home inside Maverik Stadium this season and is 31-9 (.775) in its last 40 home games, which includes a 23-9 (.719) record under head coach Matt Wells. Overall, USU has won three straight home games and is 143-105 (.577) in Maverik Stadium.
 
• Utah State ranks among the top 40 teams in the nation in 18 different statistical categories, including ranking fourth in scoring offense (54.7 points per game), fifth in turnovers forced (9), sixth in defensive touchdowns (2) and seventh in kickoff returns (34.29 yards per return).
 
• Utah State has won the coin toss in each of its first three games this season as it took the ball against both Michigan State and Tennessee Tech, and deferred against New Mexico State.
 
AGGIES BEGIN MOUNTAIN WEST PLAY AT HOME AGAINST AIR FORCE
• Utah State hosts Air Force in both teams' Mountain West opener on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 8:15 p.m. in its third of three-straight home games. The game, which is the annual Whiteout game, will be televised nationally on ESPN2 with Roy Philpott (play-by-play) and Tom Ramsey (analyst) on the call. Live audio of the game is available on www.UtahStateAggies.com.
 
UTAH STATE RETURNS PLENTY OF EXPERIENCE IN 2018 
• Utah State returns 18 starters (O-9, D-9) and 47 letterwinners (O-19, D-26, S-2) from last season, which is the third-most in the nation behind Florida (19) and Michigan State (19). When you add in its two returning specialists, USU's 20 returning starters is tied for the third-most in the nation behind Baylor (22) and Michigan State (22), and tied with Florida (20), Michigan (20) and UAB (20).
 
UTAH STATE PLAYING THREE-STRAIGHT HOME GAMES 
• Utah State is playing the third of three-straight home games this weekend. USU began its three-game home stretch two weekends ago with a 60-13 win against New Mexico State, followed by a 73-12 win against Tennessee Tech last weekend. USU also had three-straight home games last season, but prior to that, the last time it had three-straight home games was in 1997, which is also the last time USU had three-straight home games in September.
 
EXTRA YARD FOR TEACHERS
• Utah State will join other programs from around the country in celebrating teachers during Extra Yard for Teachers Week during its home football game against Air Force. The Extra Yard for Teachers program is a part of the College Football Playoff Foundation nonprofit organization and leverages the high profile of the College Football Playoff National Championship to bring teachers to center stage. With the goal of decreasing teachers' out-of-pocket expenses, the CFP Foundation seeks to provide funds directly into teachers' classrooms. The primary method of accomplishing this is through DonorsChoose.org project funding. The CFP Foundation seeks to provide teachers professional development opportunities through funding partner programming, which is critical for preparing quality teachers.
 
A LOOK AT UTAH STATE 
• Utah State is 2-1 on the season following its 73-12 home win against Tennessee Tech last weekend. USU began the year with a 38-31 loss at No. 11 Michigan State and then posted a 60-13 home win against New Mexico State two weekends ago. Offensively, USU is led by sophomore QB Jordan Love, who is 64-of-97 (.660) passing for 714 yards (238.0 ypg) with three touchdowns and three interceptions. Junior RB Darwin Thompson leads the team in rushing with 231 yards on 22 carries (10.5 ypc/77.0 ypg) with four touchdowns, and senior WR Ron'quavion Tarver has a team-best 13 receptions for 100 yards (7.7 ypr/33.3 ypg). Defensively, sophomore LB David Woodward leads the team with 29 tackles, which includes 1.0 tackles for loss, while senior LB Chase Christiansen has 22 tackles, which includes 0.5 tackles for loss. As a team, Utah State is averaging 54.7 points and 465.7 yards of total offense (260.7 passing, 205.0 rushing), and allowing 21.0 points and 319.7 yards of total offense (177.7 passing, 142.0 rushing).
 
A LOOK AT UTAH STATE DURING ITS TWO-GAME WINNING STREAK
• During its current two-game winning streak, Utah State is averaging 66.5 points and 526,5 yards per game (295.0 rushing, 231.5 passing), while converting 48.1 percent of its third downs (13-27). Defensively, USU is allowing just 12.5 points and 253.5 yards of total offense (130.5 rushing, 123.0 passing), while limiting its opponents to just 8-of-34 (.235) on third downs.
 
UTAH STATE OFFENSE LIGHTING UP THE SCOREBOARD

• Utah State's offense is lighting up the scoreboard so far in 2018 as it has scored 30-plus points in each of its first three games with 31 points at No. 11 Michigan State, followed by 60 points against New Mexico State and 73 points against Tennessee Tech. It is just the second time in school history that an Aggie team has scored 30-plus points in each of its first three games to start a season, joining the 2011 squad that scored 38 points at No. 19 Auburn, 54 points against Weber State and 34 points against Colorado State. No Aggie team has ever scored 30-plus points in four straight games to start a season.
 
DID YOU KNOW?
• Utah State has won 24 of its last 29 games when it has a 100-yard rusher, including a 2-0 record this year, and 28 of its last 31 contests when rushing at least 40 times in a game, including a 2-0 record this year. USU has also won 42 of its last 45 games when scoring at least 30 points, including a 2-1 record this season.
 
• Utah State has four non-offensive touchdowns this season, as senior S Gaje Ferguson returned an interception 40 yards for the score at No. 11 Michigan State, sophomore WR Savon Scarver returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and senior CB Deante Fortenberry returned an interception 75 yards for the score against New Mexico State, and sophomore WR Jordan Nathan returned a punt 59 yards for a touchdown against Tennessee Tech. Last year, USU scored seven non-offensive touchdowns with three interception returns, two fumble returns, one blocked punt return and one kickoff return for a touchdown. 
 
UTAH STATE FOURTH IN THE NATION IN SCORING OFFENSE
• Utah State ranks first in the Mountain West and fourth in the nation in scoring with an average of 54.7 points per game. USU also ranks third in the MW and 20th in the nation in completion percentage (.691), third in the MW and 36th in the nation in total offense (467.0 ypg), third in the MW and 41st in the nation in rushing offense (206.3 ypg), fourth in the MW and 59th in the nation in sacks allowed (1.67 ppg), fifth in the MW and 50th in the nation in passing offense (260.7 ypg), and seventh in the MW and 80th in the nation in passing efficiency (132.4).
 
• Utah State also ranks third in the Mountain West and 18th in the nation with a third down conversion percentage of 50.0 (20-40), and is fourth in the MW and 24th in the nation with an average of 25.0 first downs per game.
 
AGGIE DEFENSE RANKS 16TH NATIONALLY IN TACKLES FOR LOSS
• Utah State ranks second in the Mountain West and 16th in the nation with an average of 9.0 tackles for loss per game. USU also ranks second in the MW and 23rd in the nation in sacks (3.0 pg), second in the MW and 38th in the nation in passing defense (177.8 ypg), third in the MW and 38th in the nation in passing efficiency defense (101.8), third in the MW and 35th in the nation in total defense (319.7 ypg), third in the MW and 47th in the nation in scoring defense (21.0 ppg), and eighth in the MW and 59th in the nation in rushing defense (142.0 ypg).
 
AGGIES RANK NINTH IN THE NATION WITH NINE FORCED TURNOVERS

• Utah State has forced nine turnovers (5 interceptions, 4 fumbles) this year to rank second in the Mountain West behind Fresno State (12) and ninth in the nation. USU also ranks third in the MW and 12th in the nation with its four fumble recoveries, fourth in the MW and 12th in the nation with its five interceptions, and second in the MW and 18th in the nation in turnover margin (+1.0).
 
• With its nine turnovers this season, USU has now forced 150 turnovers in its last 78 games, including at least one turnover in 61 of its last 78 games. USU has also recorded 71 interceptions in its last 65 games, including at least one pick in 36 of its last 65 games and multiple interceptions in 21 of its last 65 games. Overall, USU has forced three or more turnovers in 18 of its last 53 games. 
 
UTAH STATE SIXTH IN THE NATION WITH ITS TWO DEFENSIVE SCORES
• Utah State is second in the Mountain West behind Fresno State (3) and sixth in the nation with its two defensive touchdowns this year as S Gaje Fergusonreturned an interception 40 yards for a touchdown at No. 11 Michigan State and senior CB Deante Fortenberry returned an interception 75 yards for a touchdown against New Mexico State. Overall, USU has scored 18 defensive touchdowns in its last 62 games, including five last season to rank fourth in the nation.
 
UTAH STATE SEVENTH IN THE NATION IN KICKOFF RETURNS
• Utah State ranks first in the Mountain West and seventh in the nation in kickoff returns (34.3 ypr),  third in the conference and 23rd in the nation in punt returns (16.8 ypr), seventh in the MW and 85th in the nation in net punting (36.43 ypp), and 12th in the MW in kickoff return defense (23.1 ypr).
  
SCOUTING AIR FORCE
• Air Force is 1-1 on the season following its 33-27 road loss at Florida Atlantic in its last game two weekends ago. Air Force began the year with a 38-0 home win against Stony Brook. The Falcons are led by junior QB Isaiah Sanders, who is 8-of-13 passing for 164 yards (82.0 ypg) with one touchdown and one interception. Junior FB Cole Fagan leads the team in rushing with 147 yards on 34 carries (4.3 ypc/73.5 ypg) with one touchdown, and senior WR Marcus Bennett leads the team in receiving with three receptions for 112 yards (37.3 ypr/56.0 ypg). Defensively, senior SS Garre Kauppila has a team-best 15 tackles, which includes 1.5 tackles for loss, while junior LB Kyle Johnson has 11 tackles, which includes 2.5 tackles for loss. As a team, Air Force is averaging 32.5 points and 367.5 yards of total offense per game (271.0 rushing, 96.5 passing), and allowing 16.5 points and 300.0 yards of total offense (258.0 passing, 42.0 rushing). Air Force returns 11 starters (O-5, D-6) and 52 lettermen (O-22, D-28, S-2) from last year's team that went 5-7 overall and 4-4 in Mountain West play to finish tied for fourth in the Mountain Division. Troy Calhoun is 83-61 (.576) in this his 12th season as a collegiate head coach at Air Force, including a 49-38 (.563) Mountain West record.
 
AGGIES AND FALCONS SERIES HISTORY
• Utah State and Air Force will be meeting for the seventh time in series history this weekend with the Falcons holding a 4-2 advantage, including a 1-1 mark in Logan. The Falcons won the first meeting, 38-13, on Nov. 8, 1969, at the USAF Academy. USU then won the next two games with a 52-20 win at the USAF Academy on Sept. 7, 2013, and a 34-16 home win in Logan on Oct. 11, 2014. The Falcons have since won the last three meetings with a 35-28 home win on Nov. 14, 2015, a 27-20 road win on Sept. 24, 2016, and a 38-35 home win on Nov. 25, 2017.
 
WELLS VERSUS AIR FORCE
• Utah State head coach Matt Wells is 2-3 all-time against Air Force as a head coach, and faced the Falcons eight times as an assistant coach, including five times as an assistant at the Naval Academy and three times as an assistant at New Mexico.
 
UTAH STATE VERSUS THE STATE OF COLORADO
• Utah State is a combined 70-77-6 (.477) against teams from the state of Colorado, with a 33-39-2 mark versus Colorado State, a 13-19-3 ledger against Denver, a 6-11-1 record against Colorado, a 7-0 mark versus Western State, a 5-4 record against Colorado Mines, a 3-0 record versus Colorado College, a 1-0 mark versus Regis, and a 2-4 record against Air Force.
 
UTAH STATE AND AIR FORCE CONNECTIONS
• U.S. Air Force Academy Colonel and former Air Force football player (1973-76) and Athletics Director (1996-2003) Randy Spetman spent four years as the Director of Athletics at Utah State University (2004-07). Senior OL Quin Ficklin originally committed to play football at Air Force during his senior year of high school. USU offensive line coach Steve Farmer and AFA receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield coached together at Illinois State in 2009.
 
CONNECTIONS BETWEEN UTAH STATE AND AIR FORCE PLAYERS
• There are three connections between Utah State and Air Force players. USU senior OL Quin Ficklin and AFA junior OL Colin Marquez both attended Red Mountain HS in Mesa, Ariz. USU senior S Jontrell Rocquemore and AFA sophomore LB Parker Noren are both from McKinney, Texas. And, USU freshman DE Hale Motu'apuaka and AFA senior K Noah Crabbe are both from Honolulu, Hawaii.
 
UTAH STATE VERSUS THE MOUNTAIN WEST
• Utah State is 150-179-8 (.457) all-time against current members of the Mountain West with a 38-26-4 record vs. Wyoming, a 33-39-2 record vs. Colorado State, a 16-7 record vs. UNLV, a 17-20-1 record vs. San José State, a 12-17-1 record vs. Fresno State, an 11-13 record vs. New Mexico, a 9-6 record vs. Hawai`i, a 6-18 record vs. Nevada, a 5-17 record vs. Boise State, a 2-4 record vs. Air Force, and a 1-12 record vs. San Diego State.
 
UTAH STATE BEGINS SIXTH SEASON IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST
• Utah State begins its sixth year as a member of the Mountain West in 2018 and has been a Division I-A/Bowl Championship Series football playing school in each of its 119 seasons of competition. USU joined the Mountain States/Skyline Conference in 1938 until 1961. USU then played as a football independent from 1962-77 when the Aggies became members of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association in 1978. The PCAA changed its name to the Big West Conference in 1988. Following the 2000 season, when the Big West no longer sponsored football, USU spent two years as an independent (2001-02) and two years in the Sun Belt Conference (2003-04), before joining the Western Athletic Conference for eight seasons from 2005-12.
  
DID YOU KNOW?
• Utah State has 36 players in its program from the state of Utah, while Air Force has six players on its roster from the state of Colorado.
 
• Utah State outside receivers coach Jovon Bouknight, who is from Denver, Colo. (Manual HS), played in four games against Air Force at wide receiver during his career at Wyoming from 2002-05. Against AFA, Bouknight caught 21 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns, including six receptions for 132 yards and one touchdown as a senior. Bouknight also threw a 19-yard touchdown pass against the Falcons as a sophomore in 2003.
 
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