What a game on Saturday night at Maverik Stadium.
There was a bit of everything, including a lot of rain. Make that buckets of H2O from the sky. It was like a non-stop bucket challenge of some sort.
And the Aggie fans didn’t budge for the most part. That was pretty impressive.
The Utah State students were doing their best to be a factor, and it didn’t go unnoticed — especially those crazies on the front row in swimming gear with no shirts. The team certainly noticed, and I came away impressed.
Granted, the game was close, so that makes leaving harder. But with the way it rained, I have to be honest I wouldn’t have blamed them — too much.
On the field, we were treated to the standard rushing and passing touchdowns as well as field goals in the Aggies’ 34-24 Homecoming win over Colorado State. But we were also treated to kickoff return for a score, an interception return for a TD and a fumble return for six. The only thing missing was a safety and a punt return for a TD.
It was definitely entertaining, but perhaps a bit too close for Aggie fans. USU came into the game as 24-point favorites.
In the end, the Aggies did what they had to in order to stay perfect in the Mountain West Conference. Had a call gone USU’s way at Wake Forest, perhaps USU would be undefeated on the season, but that is hindsight and this team is moving forward and not looking back.
“We battled through a lot of things,” Aggie head coach Gary Andersen said after the game Saturday. “The delay, the weather, the turnovers.”
And he could have gone on. But when it counted most, USU did what he needed to in order to get the W.
“The defense loved the weather,” said Aggie linebacker David Woodward, who came up with one of the big plays when he stripped the ball from a Rams running back and ran the ball eight yards to paydirt for the final score of the game. “I’m from Washington, so I’m used to it and love to play in the rain.”
Woodward certainly played like a Player of the Year candidate. He forced two fumbles, had 14 tackles and scored a crucial touchdown like I’ve already mentioned. He was clutch, as was the defense on numerous other occasions.
Sure, the Rams scored some points, but for the most part the Aggie D did a tremendous job, especially with some of the situations they were thrown into as the offense struggled, turning the ball over four times — two fumbles and two interceptions — and then there was a blocked punt deep in the Aggies own territory.
Yes, the USU defense was tested Saturday. I came away impressed that the defense dug in and did their part.
“We knew as a defense we needed to make some plays, help the offense,” Woodward said.
That they did.
And Gerold Bright certainly did his part on offense, bouncing back from a nightmare of a start — fumbling early in the game. Bright ended up get his number called 36 times and responded with 179 yards. Those were both career highs for the senior.
Bright’s take on the game?
Here are a few tidbits from the running back: “The coaches believe in me and I believe in them. ... I forgot about the fumble until now (asked by the media after the game). ... They (coaches) just called plays and I just ran. ... Remember your why (why you play).”
Bright is always good for some nice sound bites. And those 36 carries were the most by an Aggie since one of my favorites of all time — Emmett White. White had 38 carries in a game in 2001.
Now the Aggies get to face No. 5 LSU, who had a bye last week. I’ve been to Death Valley and that place can be intimidating. This group of Aggies look forward to the opportunity.
“We have a really good team that likes to fight like crazy,” Andersen said.
And I’m sure they will put up a good fight Saturday.