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Aggie Football Ends 2012 Season Ranked 7th Nationally in Scoring Defense


Thursday, Jan. 10, 2013


Utah State football defense on the field in action
In all, Utah State's defense ranked first in the Western Athletic Conference and seventh in the nation in scoring defense (15.4 ppg). (photo from Athletics website)

Utah State [University] football had its most successful season in school history in 2012 as it went 11-2 and set school records for wins (11) and home wins (6), while recording just its second bowl win in school history with a 41-15 victory against Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

 

Utah State also won its first outright conference championship since 1936 and just its third in school history, and finished the 2012 season winning its final seven games, which is tied for the fourth-longest active winning streak in the nation and tied for the third-longest winning streak in school history.

 

One of the main reasons for Utah State’s success in 2012 was the play of its defense that ended the year ranking among the top 15 teams nationally in five separate defensive categories.

 

In all, Utah State’s defense ranked first in the Western Athletic Conference and seventh in the nation in scoring defense (15.4 ppg). USU also ranked tied for first in the WAC and tied for sixth nationally in sacks (3.23 pg), first in the WAC and eighth in the nation in pass efficiency defense (104.4), second in the WAC and 13th in the country in rushing defense (113.8 ypg), first in the WAC and 14th in the nation in total defense (322.1 ypg), and first in the WAC and 32nd in the nation in passing defense (208.3 ypg).

 

Utah State’s defense also ranked tied for first in the nation in red zone efficiency as its opponents scored on just 28-of-44 (.636) red zone possessions. Of those 44 trips USU’s opponents made to the red zone, they come away with just 13 touchdowns and 15 field goals, to go along with two missed field goals, six interceptions, one fumble and a loss on downs seven times.

 

Utah State’s defense also played exceptionally well in the first-half this year as it out-scored its opponents 138-9 in the first quarter and had a 254-60 scoring advantage in the first-half as it scored first in all but two of its games and led at the half in all but one game this year.

 

In fact, Utah State ended the 2012 season as the only team in the nation that did not allow a first quarter touchdown, as the only teams to score against USU in the first 15 minutes of play were San Jose State, UTSA and Toledo, who all converted field goals.

 

Furthermore, Utah State’s defense allowed its opponents to convert just 32.88 percent of its third downs (73-222), which ranked first in the WAC and 19th in the nation.

 

Utah State’s offense ranked second in the WAC and 21st in the nation in total offense (469.8 ypg). USU also ranked third in the WAC and 16th in the nation in passing efficiency (153.3), second in the WAC and 26th in the nation in scoring offense (34.9 ppg), second in the WAC and 26th in the nation in rushing offense (204.8 ypg), third in the WAC and 28th in the nation in sacks allowed (1.38 pg), and third in the WAC and 40th in the nation in passing offense (265.0 ypg).  

 

Utah State’s offense in 2012 ended up being one of the best in school history, statistically, as it set single-season school records for total points (454), total offense (6,108), completions (285), completion percentage (.679), total yards per game (469.8) and total yards per attempt (6.83), while ranking second in points per game (34.9), total passing yards (3,445), first downs (272) and touchdowns (59).

 

As for special teams, Utah State finished the 2012 season ranking third in the WAC and 35th in the nation in net punting (38.4 ypk), third in the WAC and 37th in the nation in punt returns (10.3 ypr), and fifth in the WAC and 66th in the nation in kickoff returns (21.5 ypr).

 

Individually on offense, senior running back Kerwynn Williams finished the 2012 season ranking first in the WAC and 10th in the nation in all-purpose yards (171.2 ypg), first in the WAC and 13th in the nation in rushing (116.3 ypg), third in the WAC and tied for 20th in the nation in scoring (9.2 ppg), seventh in the WAC in total offense (116.3 ypg), and ninth in the WAC in receiving (53.6 ypg). Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton finished the season ranking third in the WAC and 17th in the nation in total offense (307.1 ypg), second in the WAC and 18th in the nation in passing efficiency (154.7), third in the WAC and 29th in the nation in passing (259.5 ypg), and eighth in the WAC in rushing (47.6 ypg).

 

Individually on defense, senior cornerback Will Davis ranked first in the WAC and tied for second in the nation in passes defended (1.69 pg), second in the WAC and tied for 17th in the nation in interceptions (0.38 pg), and 35th in the WAC in tackles (4.9 pg). Sophomore linebacker Zach Vigil ranked fifth in the WAC and 84th in the nation in tackles (8.1 pg), tied for sixth in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.73 pg), and tied for seventh in the WAC in sacks (0.42 pg). And junior linebacker Jake Doughty ranked second in the WAC and tied for 71st in the nation in tackles (8.4 pg).

 

On special teams, senior punter Tyler Bennett ranked fifth in the WAC and 40th in the nation in punting (41.9 ypk). Senior wide receiver Cameron Webb ranked third in the WAC and 36th in the nation in punt returns (8.8 ypr). And senior wide receiver Chuck Jacobs ranked third in the WAC and 41st in the nation in kick returns (24.1 ypr), and eighth in the WAC in all-purpose yards (93.8 ypg).

 

Other Utah State players who ranked among the WAC’s best, statistically, during the 2012 season include senior wide receiver Matt Austin who ranked seventh in the WAC in receiving (56.1 ypg); senior safety McKade Brady who ranked ninth in the WAC in tackles (7.8 pg); redshirt freshman linebacker Kyler Fackrell who ranked eighth in the WAC in interceptions (0.23), 13th in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.62 pg), and 13th in the WAC in tackles (6.7 pg); sophomore safety Brian Suite who ranked 19th in the WAC in passes defended (0.54 pg) and 24th in the WAC in tackles (5.6 pg); junior cornerback Nevin Lawson who ranked ninth in the WAC in passes defended (0.77 pg) and 36th in the WAC in tackles (4.8 pg); senior cornerback Terrence Alston who ranked tied for 13th in the WAC in passes defended (0.69 pg); senior linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu who ranked tied for eighth in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.69), tied for ninth in the WAC in sacks (0.38 pg), and tied for 26th in the WAC in tackles (5.5 pg); junior defensive lineman Connor Williams who ranked fifth in the WAC and tied for 91st in the nation in sacks (0.46 pg), and 19th in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.54 pg); redshirt freshman defensive lineman Jordan Nielsen who ranked tied for ninth in the WAC in sacks (0.38 pg) and 20th in the WAC in tackles for loss (0.50 pg); junior defensive lineman B.J. Larsen who ranked 13th in the WAC in sacks (0.31 pg); and senior defensive lineman Al Lapuaho who ranked 20th in the WAC in sacks (0.23 pg).

 

Nationally, Utah State was one of just 17 teams to finish the 2012 season with 11 or more wins and USU was one of just four teams across the country who did not lose a league game joining Ohio State (8-0) from the Big Ten and Kent State (8-0) and Northern Illinois (8-0) from the Mid-American Conference.

 

Utah State ended the 2012 season nationally ranked for just the third time ever as it is listed 16th in the final Associated Press (AP) poll and 17th in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll. USU also finished the year ranked 22nd in the final Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings.

 

Fans can follow the Aggie football program on Twitter. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

 

Additional Aggie sports news is available at the Athletics website.



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