The Utah State Aggies won their first ever WAC title and first championship since 1997 with a 48-41 overtime win over the ranked Louisiana Tech Bulldogs Saturday. Here are three thoughts on that great accomplishment:
1. Chuckie Keeton and Kerwynn Williams are perhaps the most dynamic offensive combination that we have seen in years in Utah if not ever. These two are the epitome of the word “playmakers.” Keeton was absolutely amazing and almost perfect in this victory. He dominated the Louisiana Tech defense with his feet and his arm. In addition he protected the football and regularly tossed it away when nothing was there. As for Williams, he set the tone on the very first play of the game taking a Keeton screen toss 86 yards for a touchdown. He finished with 162 yards rushing (8.2 yards per carry average) along with two touchdowns and 125 yards receiving (31.3 yards per catch average). Led by these two the Utah State offense got points on the board early putting the high potent La Tech offense on their heels from the beginning. It also says a lot that USU outgained the nations No. 1 offense 646 total yards to 629.
2. Defensive game planning. On Gunther and Graham on 1320 KFAN I said this was going to be like an Arena Football League game where whatever defense was able to make three or four stops–that team would win. Well Utah State won that battle, particularly early in the game, shutting down the Bulldogs high powered attack. They did it by confusion and pressure. Every time La Tech would look towards the sideline to change a playcall Utah State would change their look and scheme as well. This led to confusing their quarterback Colby Cameron that resulted in two interceptions after he had gone an NCAA record 445 attempts without a pick. In the second half La Tech adjusted and took control of the game as the USU defense tired. But in the end they made the crucial stop in overtime that resulted in the win. You definitely have to give extra credit to Jake Doughty who had a team high 18 tackles and an interception as well as cornerback Willie Davis who battled their top receiver Quinton Patton and finished with five tackles, two pass breakups and an interception.
3. Will this be Gary Andersen’s farewell song? That victory and game showed why Andersen is the best coach in the state of Utah. Clearly having the bye week helped, but watching the game you could see he had his team prepared, motivated and had a gameplan that stymied, attacked, and in the defense’s case, harassed the top offense in the country. Add in the athletes he has been able to bring to Logan you can understand why he will be one of the more sought after coaches in the country. After the game he became emotional and cried. That is a good sign for Utah State fans hoping he will continue to lead their program. At the same token once the emotions quell you have to wonder whether he can turn down the millions of dollars that will be thrown his way to coach at a BCS program. However, he is in a very good position. While some say you have to jump when the iron is hot, Andersen can be selective considering the team he has returning, led by Keeton, which should be strong next season as well. At the same token it has to be tough to turn down the possibility of making $2.5 million per year, the amount programs like Kentucky would be willing to pay. All I know is if I’m an Aggies fan I would at least attend and show your support on Saturday against Idaho as opposed to continuing to hunt Bambi.
UPDATE: Utah State senior cornerback Willie Davis joined Gunther and Graham on 1320 KFAN to talk about the win and the amount of phone numbers that were throw at him by lady fans when they got off the plane after the La Tech win.