The Utah State Aggies (2-2, 1-0) will travel to face the Fresno State Bulldogs (1-4, 0-2) in a Mountain West Conference matchup Saturday night. Fresno State has won six straight and nine of the last ten in the series; that includes a 24-17 win at home on December 7, 2014 as a 2.5 point favorite in the most recent meeting.
Utah State snapped a two game slide as they knocked off Colorado State 33-18 last week at home. Fresno State lost their fourth straight as they fell to San Diego State on the road. This one is scheduled to kickoff at 10:30 pm ET from Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, California and will be televised on the CBS Sports Network. Utah State is currently an 11 point favorite with the over/under set at 47 points in this contest.
Utah State trailed 10-3 to Colorado State before reeling off 23 straight points to take command of the contest. The Aggies outgained the Rams 435-361 and forced three Colorado State turnovers while not turning the ball over in the game. Utah State won the time of possession battle as they held the ball for 34:03 to Colorado State’s 25:57 in the contest. Kent Myers was solid at quarterback as he threw for 137 yards plus a score while running for 191 and a touchdown.
The Aggies aren’t an overpowering offense as they are 106th in passing (168.5 yards per game) and 87th in rushing (159.5 yards per contest); Utah State averages only 18 points per game while ranking 41st in scoring defense with an average of 20.5 points per game allowed. Chuckie Keeton, the sixth-year senior, had been starting until the Colorado State game, has hit 55 of 101 passes for 537 yards with two touchdowns and five picks while rushing for 75 yards. He’s out again with a knee sprain so it will be Myers running the show. LaJuan Hunt is the team’s leading rusher with 63 carries for 194 yards and a score while Devante Mays has 26 carries for 167 yards. Devonte Robinson leads the team with 12 catches for 155 yards; Hunter Sharp (10 receptions, 137 yards, TD) and Hunt (10 catches out of the backfield) are the only other players with double digit receptions. Two kickers have combined to hit all eight extra points and six of six field goals this season.
Fresno State struggled offensively as they were stifled for the most part. After playing the Aztecs to a 7-7 tie, San Diego State scored two touchdowns in the second half while holding the Bulldogs off the scoreboard. Fresno State was brutally outgained in the game, 409-89, and finished with only six first downs in the game while forcing the lone turnover in the contest. The Bulldogs were crushed in time of possession as San Diego State held the ball for 37:21 compared to Fresno State’s 22:39 in the contest.
The Bulldogs are mediocre offensively as they are averaging 169.4 yards per game through the air (105th in the nation) and 122.4 yards per game on the ground (112th in the nation); Fresno State averages 21 points per game while they stand tied for 119th in scoring defense by allowing 40.2 points per contest. Three quarterbacks have seen action for the Bulldogs this season; they’ve combined to hit only 52.5 percent of his passes for 847 yards with 12 touchdowns and six picks while averaging 5.23 yards per attempt. Marteze Waller is the leader in the ground game but he’s had his troubles; he has 96 carries for 399 yards; no one else has more than 77 yards on the ground. KeeSean Johnson leads the Bulldogs with 19 receptions for 189 yards and two scores; Jamire Jordan has 16 catches for a team high 209 yards plus three scores while Josiah Blandin contributes 12 grabs for 133 yards and three touchdowns. Kody Kroening is 13 of 14 on extra points and hit all three field goal attempts; Jimmy Camacho is 1 of 2 on field goals this season.
Utah State is 5-1 ATS in their last six in October, 6-2 ATS in their last eight on the road, 20-8 ATS in their last 28 after a straight up win and 21-9-1 ATS in their last 31 conference games. Fresno State is 17-44-2 ATS in their last 63 after a straight up loss, 1-4 ATS in their last five on fieldturf, 0-4 ATS in their last four overall and 0-4 ATS in their last four after throwing for less than 170 yards in their last game.
Fresno State was completely shut down against San Diego State and they need to show some signs of life early on in order to try and set the tone in this contest. Utah State is a team with the next man up mentality; Myers had a stellar debut in the win over Colorado State and his versatility and mobility makes him extremely dangerous. Look for Utah State to take advantage of his skills and get the victory by at least two touchdowns.