Utah State improved to 2-1 on the year in winning its home-opener for the fifth-straight year, as well as improving to 51-31-2 in Homecoming games. Saturday's win was also the Aggies' ninth-straight home victory, as well was USU's sixth win in a row at home against an in-state opponent.
Weber State slid to 1-2 overall. Saturday's Aggie win was their seventh in a row over the Wildcats, improving to 13-1 overall and 8-1 against WSU at Logan.
Utah State’s 70 points are its most since defeating New Mexico State, 76-0, in 1964 and its 63-point victory is the seventh-largest in school history and largest since its win against NMSU in 1964.
Against the Wildcats, Utah State amassed a season-high 587 yards of total offense, its 14th-most in school history, while limiting WSU to 138 yards of total offense, which ranks 21st on the Aggies' fewest yards of total offense list.
"We were explosive early, and that’s what we wanted to do, start out aggressive," said Utah State head coach Matt Wells. "I thought our defense played really well, really early. As we move forward, we continue to look to our goals. Our main goal again is to compete for a Mountain West Championship in November. We have a big game coming up and we all know about it. Hopefully we’ll prepare and focus right during the week and that will give us the chance to play well next Saturday.”
Keeton was 19-of-25 passing for 249 yards with the five touchdowns, matching the five touchdown tosses he threw at Air Force last week, and the third time in his career with five touchdown passes. With his five scoring strikes Saturday, Keeton now has 50 career touchdown passes. With 19 completions Saturday night, Keeton moved into third-place on USU's career completions list.
“Great game as a team, so far probably the best one I’ve been a part of," said Keeton. "Even though the score was a little bigger
for it to be one of the bigger games, overall as a team, we executed on off ense, defense and special teams. The turnover we had at the end I’m going to say is rain-induced, but at the same time it was small things that kind of led up to it that need to be avoided. That’s a plan as our entire team is knowing the system.”
Senior running back Joey DeMartino led the USU rushing attack with eight carries for a career-high 105 yards with a career-best three touchdowns, while junior running back Joe Hill added 12 carries for 63 yards, and senior running back Robert Marshall had a career-high 57 yards on nine carries with one touchdown. Overall, USU had nine different players carry the ball, the most since at least 1995.
For the second week in a row, 10 different Aggies had a catch, led by sophomore wide receiver Bruce Natson with five catches for 35 yards, while senior wide receiver Travis Reynolds had a career-best 71 yards receiving on two catches, with 39 of them coming on a first-quarter touchdown catch. Senior tight end D.J. Tialavea had a career-best two touchdown receptions.
The Aggie defense was led by junior safety Frankie Sutera with a career-high eight tackles, while redshirt-freshman linebacker Nick Vigil added a career-best seven stops. In all, 13 Aggie defenders recorded career-high tackles.
Weber State quarterback Austin Chipoletti was 12-of-20 for 34 yards. Josh Booker rushed 15 times for 45 yards, while Josh Booker had a team-high four catches and Cam Livingston had 16 yards receiving on one catch.
The Wildcat defense was paced by Anthony Morales' 13 tackles.
The scoring floodgates opened early before the rain fell, as Utah State scored on its first seven possessions of the first half in opening up a 49-0 halftime lead. Keeton started the scoring with a 5-yard toss to Tialavea. On USU's next possession, DeMartino darted in from 11-yards out, and then Keeton hit Reynolds for a 39-yard scoring pass play for a 21-0 USU lead after the first quarter.
USU's second quarter scoring started with a 4-yard pass from Keeton to sophomore linebacker/tight end Kyler Fackrell, then hit junior wide receiver Ronald Butler with a 15-yard strike. DeMartino later scored on a 7-yard scamper and Tialavea capped the first half scoring with an 8-yard catch from Keeton.
On USU's second possession of the second half, DeMartino darted through a huge hole created by the Aggies' offensive line and scampered 60-yards to the end zone for a touchdown. The next Aggie possession lasted only one play as junior quarterback Craig Harrison hit junior tight end Keegan Andersen for a 56-yard scoring strike for Harrison's first Aggie career touchdown toss.
Marshall went in from 2-yards out for USU's final score of the game with 9:59 left in the third quarter, and the Aggies coasted to the win.
Weber State's lone score came with 50 seconds left in the game as Spencer Unga scooped up a loose ball after the snap went over redshirt-freshman quarterback Jeff Manning's head and returned it 38 yards for the score.
Utah State heads to Los Angeles, Calif., to take on Southern California on Saturday, Sept. 21 in a nationally televised game kicking off at 1:30 p.m. (MT). The game will be televised on ABC and ESPN2, depending on location.
The Aggies resume Mountain West action by playing an old Western Athletic Conference foe in San Jose State on Friday, Sept. 27 in another nationally televised game on ESPN. USU returns home to host in-state foe BYU on Friday, Oct. 4 at 6 p.m.