LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Utah State’s hopes of winning the Mountain Division title are now in jeopardy with one game left in the season.
The Wyoming Cowboys racked up 362 yards rushing and ran away from the Aggies at Maverik Stadium, 44-17, ending Utah State’s 5-game winning streak.
Titus Swen rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns, while Xazavian Valladay had 145 yards rushing, as the Cowboys shut Utah State out in the second half.
Utah State was in control of its own destiny headed into the final two games to win the Mountain Division. But now, they must beat New Mexico in its regular season finale and have Boise State lose to San Diego State in order to move on to the Mountain West Conference Championship Game for the first time since 2013.
“Obviously, we are disappointed with the outcome,” said Aggies head coach Blake Anderson. “I was worried all week about our ability to match up to their style of play, their size and we did not, really, in any area. We completely respected what we saw on film, regardless of their record. We thought they were starting to move in the right direction. We saw what they were capable of doing and how they played against a few teams down the stretch. We saw their best game today, I think, in most areas.”
Logan Bonner threw for 181 yards and two touchdowns, while Calvin Tyler Jr. rushed for 109 yards for the Aggies. But the Utah State defense could not stop the Wyoming attack, giving up 604 total yards.
“Wyoming is a good running team,” Utah State defensive end Nick Heninger said. “That is their bread and butter. The team that usually wins is the team that makes the least number of mistakes, and tonight, the Cowboys made the least number of mistakes and they were able to capitalize on it.”
With the loss, the Aggies fell into a three-way tie for first place with Air Force and Boise State in the West Division of the MW standings. A win over New Mexico next week, coupled with a Boise State loss at San Diego State, would send Utah State to the Mountain West Championship game for the first time since 2013.
“I’m disappointed for our team because I wanted us to be able to control our destiny to the very end, and now we’re going to need some help,” said Anderson. “But, if you took a poll, heck, you guys figured we were only going to win about five games when the season started. I don’t think anybody saw us being an eight-win team and we’re going to find a way to get to nine, and hopefully, get to 10. We’re not done. This is going to hurt, and it’s supposed to, but we don’t have a whole lot of time to think about it. I told them when they come back in the building tomorrow, it’s time to move on. We’ve got to go on the road on a short week against a team that’s going to scrap and claw.”
Bonner was 19-of-40 passing for 181 yards and two touchdowns – a 10-yarder to grad senior wide receiver Brandon Bowling and 41-yarder to senior wide receiver Deven Thompkins.
Bowling finished with six catches for 60 yards, while Thompkins caught five passes for 67 yards.
“The team fought until the very end,” Bowling said. “The score got out of hand, but we knew that if we could just go down there and get a score, then we might be able to make something happen. We just couldn’t execute on offense and Wyoming did a really good job.
“We will watch the film tomorrow and learn from it, then come back Tuesday ready to work and get ready to beat New Mexico. That’s the only thing we can do and the only thing we can control right now, is going 1-0 next week and beat New Mexico.”
Thompkins has now caught 82 passes for 1,508 yards on the year and ranks second all-time in school history in single-season receiving yards and is tied for fourth all-time in receptions with Nakia Jenkins (1996). He is 24 yards shy of breaking Kevin Curtis’ school record of 1,531 yards receiving set in 2001.
The Cowboys scored their first touchdown of the night after the Aggies turned it over on downs on Wyoming’s 36-yard line. After Bowling’s touchdown tied it at 7-apiece, Cameron Stone returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, giving the visitors a 14-7 lead.
Utah State answered right back when Thompkins hauled in his acrobatic 41-yard TD, making it 14-all late in the first quarter.
Wyoming regained the lead for good on a 17-yard touchdown pass from Levi Williams to Joshua Cobbs. The two teams traded field goals before the half, including a 36-yarder by Utah State grad senior placekicker Connor Coles, as the Cowboys went into the break leading 24-17.
Utah State began the second half with the ball and drove into Wyoming territory, where the drive stalled at the 25-yard line. Coles lined up for another field goal try to cut into the visitor’s lead, but the snap was high and the Cowboys recovered at their own 44.
Two plays later, Swen scored on a 43-yard touchdown run to essentially put the game out of reach.