FACTS & STATS: Site: War Memorial Stadium (29,181) — Laramie, Wyoming.
Television: ESPN2. Home Record: USU 4-0, Wyoming 3-1. Away Record: USU 2-3,
Wyoming 1-4. Neutral Record: USU 0-0, Wyoming 0-0. Conference Record: USU 3-1,
Wyoming 2-3. Series Record: Utah State leads, 36-24-4.
GAME NOTES: Seeking to become bowl eligible for the fourth straight year, the
Utah State Aggies set their sights on the Wyoming Cowboys in a Mountain West
Conference clash on Friday night.
The Aggies, who have had to deal with a series of quarterback injuries this
season, enter the week tied with Boise State for second place in the Mountain
Division of the MWC, sporting a record of 3-1. The team throttled Hawaii last
weekend in Honolulu with a 35-14 victory, the second straight win and the
fourth in the last five outings for the program.
The lone defeat for USU over the last month came by a mere three points versus
a streaking Colorado State program that is currently riding a seven-game win
streak, the fourth-longest in the nation.
Over on the other side, the Cowboys figured to have their hands full during a
trip to Fresno State last week, particularly since the Bulldogs had not lost a
home conference game since joining the MWC, but the visitors erupted for a
45-17 victory, snapping a four-game slide in the process.
With their 35-7 victory in the regular-season finale last year, the Aggies
moved their advantage in the all-time series versus Wyoming to 36-24-4.
The Aggies were tied with Hawaii at the break, 14-14, at Aloha Stadium, but
that all changed when the visitors ripped off 21 unanswered points in the
second half in order to claim the win. Freshman quarterback Kent Myers threw
for 186 yards and three TDs in his first career start, while freshman running
back LaJuan Hunt accounted for a career-best 150 yards on the ground as well.
Myers, who got the call due to the fact that the three previous starters
(Craig Harrison, Darell Garretson and Chuckie Keeton) were all sidelined with
injuries, set the Utah State and MWC single-game record for completion
percentage (.933) as he missed on just one of his 15 pass attempts against a
porous Hawaii defense.
Utah State, which has won 12 straight games in the month of November and is
now 10-2 in MWC play since joining the league from the Western Athletic
Conference, was a bit shaky on defense with 454 yards allowed, but it helped
that the Rainbow Warriors were flagged 13 times for a loss of 100 yards. While
the visitors controlled the action for more than 35 minutes, they too had
their issues with penalties (12 for 96 yards), but managed to overcome them.
Winners of 12 of their last 13 road conference games, the Aggies have managed
to remain steady by filling holes with capable replacements and Myers, who has
now converted 17-of-20 passes on the season, is no different. One of the
biggest positives for the Aggies is that they are fifth in the country in
turnover margin at plus-1.33.
On defense, USU ranks fifth in stopping the run (90.0 ypg) and is 25th in
points allowed (21.0 ppg), thanks in large part to the efforts of Zach Vigil
(96 tackles, 14.0 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks) and Nick Vigil (76, 11.0, and
For Wyoming, a team which won three of the first four games on the 2014 slate,
there didn’t seem to be any hope when it landed in Fresno, particularly
without the services of lead running back Shaun Wick (705 yards) who is out
for a few weeks with a hand injury. But out of nowhere, Brian Hill burst onto
the scene and proceeded to rewrite the record books.
In addition to running for 281 yards, second-most in program history, he also
contributed another 106 yards on receptions to break the team and conference
mark for all-purpose yards, despite dealing with what appeared to be an ankle
Quarterback Colby Kirkegaard, when not handing the ball off to Hill and
watching him shred the FSU defense, converted 19-of-28 passes for 320 yards
and two touchdowns, one each to Jake Maulhardt and Jacob Hollister.
While Hill was stealing the spotlight on offense, Tyran Finley was doing the
same on the other side of the ball as he picked off a pair of passes, marking
the first two interceptions of the season for the Cowboys, believe it or not.
Thanks to those two picks, the Cowboys are now even in turnover margin.
While he was used prior to his breakout performance at Fresno State, Hill
ranks second on the team in rushing with 452 yards and is also responsible for
four touchdowns. As a unit, the Pokes are averaging just 159.8 ypg on the
ground and 4.4 yards per attempt.
Another surprising stat for Wyoming involves receiver Dominic Rufran who leads
the program with 34 catches for 471 yards, but he has yet to find his way into
the end zone. Instead, Jalen Claiborne (33 catches, 449 yards) leads the way
with three TDs. Perhaps even more stunning is the fact that D.J. May and J.D.
Krill have combined for a mere 14 receptions, but also four TDs between them.
To expect Hill to come out and have a similar performance as he did against
Fresno State is ludicrous, especially since there are few defenses in the MWC
that are as tough as the Aggies. However, the same sentiment might also go for
Myers who now has some tape for opponents to study. Even though the numbers
may not come close to last week for individual players, one thing is almost
certain and that is USU should be favored to win, even on the road.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah State 31, Wyoming 17