Utah State Downs BYU To Take Back The Old Wagon Wheel

Posted by on in Mountain West Conference Blog

Utah State senior cornerback Jalen Davis intercepted a career-high three passes and returned two of them for touchdowns as Utah State closed out the non-conference portion of its schedule with a 40-24 win over BYU in front of 24,112 fans on Friday night on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium.

Davis, who set a school record with his two pick-sixes, now has five interceptions on the season and 11 in his career, which is tied with three other players for the fourth-most in school history. Furthermore, the three picks tied a Mountain West record.

Senior quarterback Kent Myers was 16-of-27 passing for 176 yards and two touchdowns, to go along with 33 yards rushing, including a 19-yard touchdown run that gave the Aggies (3-2, 1-0 Mountain West) a 33-21 lead with 14:52 to go in the fourth quarter.

Utah State, which rallied from 14 points down to record the win, regained possession of the Old Wagon Wheel, the traveling trophy between the two schools.

Davis' three interceptions were a part of seven takeaways by the Aggies, including fumble recoveries by junior linebackers Derek Larsen and Suli Tamaivena, and redshirt freshman cornerback Ja'Marcus Ingram. Additionally, senior boundary safety Dallin Leavitt, who began his collegiate career at BYU, had an interception, seven tackles and a pass breakup against his former team.

In the last two games alone, Utah State has forced 11 turnovers.

Freshman running back Ula Tolutao led BYU (1-4), losers of four straight games, with 102 yards rushing on 21 carries, while quarterbacks Koy Detmer Jr. and Beau Hoge combined to go 12-of-29 for 186 yards and two touchdowns, to go along with four interceptions.

Junior wide receiver Ron'quavion Tarver led all receivers in the game with six receptions for 76 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown pass from Myers that tied the game at 21-all with 1:11 remaining in the first half.

Senior running back LaJuan Hunt led Utah State's ground game with 65 yards rushing on 18 carries. Tamaivena recorded a career- and game-high 13 tackles for the Aggies, while fellow junior linebacker Chase Christiansen added a career-best 10 stops, including 1.0 tackles for loss, and a forced fumble.

Utah State took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 32-yard touchdown pass from Myers to redshirt sophomore tight end Dax Raymond and the Aggies led 7-0 with 11:40 left in the first quarter.

However, the tide turned in favor of the Cougars after Micah Hannemann intercepted a pass by Myers and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown. BYU ended up reeling off 21 unanswered points to open a 21-7 lead with 13:30 left in the second quarter.

But, just as soon as the Cougars grabbed the momentum, the Aggies got it back – courtesy of their own pick-six. Davis intercepted a pass by Hoge and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown, brining Utah State to within 21-14 with 11:02 left in the second.

After Leavitt intercepted a pass by Detmer, the Aggies turned the pick into three more points. Sophomore placekicker Dominik Eberle connected from 32 yards out to send Utah State into the locker room with a 24-21 lead.

BYU turned it over again on its very first drive of the second half on a fumble by Ula Tolutau. Utah State senior defensive end Ian Togiai forced the fumble and Ingram recovered it. The Aggies cashed in on the takeaway courtesy of a 40-yard field goal by Eberle to make it 27-21 with 12:56 to go in the third.

After the Cougars pulled to within 33-24 following a 37-yard field goal by Rhett Almond with 12:28 to go in the game, Davis sealed it for the Aggies with 50-yard interception return for a touchdown with 3:00 to go.

Utah State remains at home next weekend when the Aggies welcome Mountain West foe Colorado State to town on Saturday, Oct. 7. The game is slated to kick off at 2:30 p.m. and will be televised live on AT&T Sports.