FRESNO, Calif. (ABC4 Sports) – It’s been a rough few weeks for Utah State, but the Aggies pulled out a thriller Saturday night.
Dominik Eberle kicked three field goals, including the game-winner from 30 yards out as time expired, while Jordan Love threw for 388 yards and 2 touchdowns, to lift Utah State to a thrilling 37-35 victory over Fresno State on Saturday night at Bulldog Stadium.
It marked the first time since 1998 that Utah State kicked a field goal to win the game.
Down 35-34, Utah State drove to the Fresno State 2-yard line, where the Aggies were stuffed on four consecutive running plays and turned the ball over on downs with 5:19 to go.
However, the defense got the ball back for Utah State when the Aggies forced Fresno State to go three-and-out. Utah State took over on its own 47-yard line with 3:05 left and all the momentum on its side.
Love drove the Aggies to the Fresno State 10-yard line. Two plays later, Eberle connected on the game-winner.
“We’re going to battle to the end,” Love said, “I knew it coming in, but it showed tonight. It means a lot. We’ve got three more left after this, so this is going to boost us and give us confidence for those last three.”
Love, who grew up less than two hours away from Bulldog Stadium, passed for 388 yards and two touchdowns – both to graduate transfer wide receiver Siaosi Mariner – as Utah State snapped a two-game losing streak.
Mariner led all receivers in the game with 11 catches for 203 yards, while graduate transfer tight end Caleb Repp added five receptions for 75 yards. Senior running back Gerold Bright rushed for 79 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries. Junior running back Jaylen Warren also had a touchdown run of his own as he carried the ball 12 times for 30 yards.
Troy Lefeged Jr. and Shaq Bond had seven and six tackles, respectively, for the Aggies.
Fresno State quarterback Jorge Reyna was 16-of-20 for 263 yards. Running back Ronnie Rivers led all rushers with 17 carries for 102 yards and three touchdowns,
Utah State took its first lead just before the end of the first half when Mariner caught his second touchdown pass of the night, an 8-yarder from Love on third-and-goal, to make it 21-14. Junior wide receiver Jordan Nathan helped set the score up when he hauled in a 36-yard pass from Love in traffic down the middle.
Mariner also caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Love with 7:59 to go in the score to square the game up at 14-apiece.
Utah State’s other touchdown of the first half came courtesy of Bright’s 21-yard run to tie the game at 7-all late in the first quarter.
Rivers accounted for both of the Bulldogs’ touchdowns during the first 30 minutes of play, one on a 10-yard run and the other from 2 yards out.
The Aggies opened their largest lead of the night at 28-14 after taking the second-half kickoff and marching 60 yards on eight plays, capped by Warren’s 6-yard touchdown run.
Eberle’s first field goal of the night gave the Aggies a 31-21 lead with 5:16 left in the third quarter. The Bulldogs moved back in front following touchdown runs by Rivers and Jalen Cropper, making it 35-31 with 14:11 remaining in the fourth.
The Aggies improve to 5-4 overall, 4-1 in the Mountain West Conference, one game behind Boise State for the lead in the Mountain Division.
Utah State will return home for its next two MW games, beginning with Mountain Division-foe Wyoming on Saturday, Nov. 16, on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium at 2 p.m.