SAN DIEGO, Calif. (ABC4 Sports) – Cooper Legas came off the bench to rally Utah State to a thrilling 32-24 double-overtime victory over San Diego State on Saturday night to snap a two-game losing skid.
Legas, who completed eight straight passes at one point, was 11-of-15 for 167 yards and two touchdowns as the Aggies improved to 4-5 on the season, 2-3 in the Mountain West Conference.
Legas replaced starter McCae Hillstead after the true freshman was injured late in the second quarter.
The Aggies have now posted 13 come-from-behind victories under third-year head coach Blake Anderson, including three this season.
Utah State led 17-7 with 13:40 to go in the game following a 19-yard touchdown run by Davon Booth. However, the Aztecs (3-6, 1-4 MW) rallied to send the game into overtime following a 10-yard touchdown pass from Jalen Mayden to Kenan Christon and a 23-yard field goal by Jack Browning with 33 seconds left in regulation.
San Diego State scored first in overtime on a 27-yard touchdown pass from Mayden to Brionne Penny to make it 24-17.
Utah State answered on its first possession in overtime when Legas found Terrell Vaughn from 18 yards out on third down.
The Aggies got the ball first in the second OT and regained the lead on a 20-yard touchdown run by Robert Briggs Jr. USU then successfully converted on its two-point try when Vaughn took the handoff from Legas and completed a pass to Broc Lane.
SDSU could not answer Utah State’s touchdown as Ike Larsen ended the game when he intercepted a fourth-down pass by Mayden and returned it 62 yards before being pushed out of bounds.
This was the first time USU has gone to overtime since a 26-20 loss to New Mexico State in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Dec. 29, 2017. The Aggies improved to 7-6 all-time in overtime, including 3-2 in double-OT.
Prior to being injured, Hillstead was 12-of-16 for 62 yards for the Aggies, who finished with 400 yards of total offense, including 229 through the air and 171 on the ground.
Mayden was 25-of-39 passing for 265 yards and three touchdowns for the Aztecs.
Vaughn led Utah State with eight catches for 91 yards and one touchdown, while Jalen Royals had a career high eight receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown. It marked the fifth consecutive game Royals has caught a TD pass.
MJ Tafisi Jr. led the Aggies with 13 tackles, while Devin Dye had nine stops. Larsen added eight tackles, including 1.0 tackles for loss.
Special teams played a big factor on both sides of the ball. San Diego State attempted two fake punts, but failed both times, and missed a field goal. Utah State was successful on its lone fake punt of the night as Anthony Switzer took the direct snap and ran four yards for the touchdown.
Five plays after Switzer’s first-down run, Legas threw a 50-yard touchdown pass to Royals to give the Aggies a 10-7 lead with 8:43 remaining in the third quarter.
With Utah State nursing its 17-14 lead, the Aztecs blocked a punt by Ryan Marks with 2:27 to go, setting up Browning’s game-tying field goal.
San Diego State scored first just 50 seconds into the second quarter when Mark Redman caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Mayden. Testa, who was 1-for-2 on field goals, cut the deficit to 7-3 when he split the uprights from 24 yards with 10:14 remaining until halftime.
Booth finished with 77 yards rushing, while Briggs had 59 on the ground.
Utah State next hosts Nevada Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Maverik Stadium.