#79 Utah State Football 2012 Preview


Utah State Aggies

2012 Overall Rank: #79
#2 WAC
Utah State College Football 2012 Team Preview
Utah State Team Page

 

Utah State‚Äôs 2011 was defined by disheartening losses.  They lost their first game to defending national champion Auburn after being ahead the whole game until they lost it in the final seconds.  They lost by one point in double overtime to Colorado State and followed that performance with a three-point loss to BYU.  They lost by one-point to Ohio in their bowl game.  The Aggies could have easily had double-digit wins last year, but things did not break their way.  They only finished a game behind conference winner Louisiana Tech.  They have a great opportunity to right the ship in 2012 and make a run at a conference title.

2011 Record: (7-6, 5-2)
2011 Bowl: Idaho Potato Bowl (L 23-24)
Coach: Gary Andersen (15-22)
Offensive Coordinator: Matt Wells
Defensive Coordinator:  Dave Aranda

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Kerwynn Williams, RB, 557 yards
Passing: Chuckie Keeton, QB, 1,200 yards
Receiving: Matt Austin, WR, 465 yards
Tackles: McKade Brady, DB, 86
Sacks: Bojay Filimoeatu, LB, 3
Interceptions: Nevin Lawson, DB, 1

Other Key Returnees: QB Adam Kennedy, WR Travis Van Leeuwen

Key Losses: RB Robert Turbin, RB Michael Smith, LB Bobby Wagner, DE Levi Koskan, LB Kyle Gallagher, WR Stanley Morrison

Strengths:
The Aggies were one of the strongest running teams in the land last season.  With their 1-2 punch of Robert Turbin and Michael Smith, they had enough star power to get the offense going on the ground.  Turbin was a bona fide superstar, gaining over 1,500 yards.  The Aggies gained over 450 yards of offense per game, which was good enough for 20th in the country.  On the flip side of the ball, the Aggie defense was fairly successful against the run.  They gave up only 128 yards per game on the ground.  Overall, Utah State was the best in the conference at keeping the other teams at bay (less than 400 yards per game).  Their ability to operate in the ground game on each side of the ball really helped them win some ball games and stay in each contest until the end.

Weaknesses:
Unfortunately for Utah State, the passing game did not stack up to their successes on the ground.  They only passed for a mere 174 yards per game.  They return quarterback Chuckie Keeton, who is a nice run/pass option.  But over the course of the season he only threw for 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns.  He will have to prove that he is the man for the job moving forward.  Backup Adam Kennedy also has some experience.  The Aggies were also terrible at holding onto the football.  They were in the bottom 15 in the nation in turnover margin.  Turnovers may be what bit them in those close losses.  The turnovers will have to be eliminated for the Aggies to improve on their record.  

The Bottom Line:
Utah State loses a lot of production from players that have moved on from the program.  They lose their two stellar running backs and a couple of tackling machines in Bobby Wagner and Levi Koskan.  Their offensive system lends itself to more ground success in 2012, especially with the promise of Kerwynn Williams.  The 2012 season is going to come down to how effective the Aggies can be at the quarterback position.  Though Keeton is experienced, it remains to be seen if he can be super effective over the course of the whole season.  They will have to improve their passing numbers in order to have more success and avoid close losses.  In the WAC, they have a good opportunity.  They can easily wrestle the top spot from Louisiana Tech if they execute.  The Aggies should be in great position for another bowl bid this season.

Projected Bowl: Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 282.69 (6th in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 174.62 (97, 8)
Total Offense: 457.31 (20, 2)
Scoring Offense: 33.62 (23, 1)
Rushing Defense: 127.77 (31, 2)
Pass Defense: 238.46 (76, 3)
Total Defense: 366.23 (50, 1)
Scoring Defense: 27.92 (68, 3)
Turnover Margin: -.69 (106, 7)
Sacks: 1.92 (59, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.38 (33, 2)