Playing in a rivalry game on Senior Night and needing a victory to stay on top of the Mountain Division, Utah State had plenty of reasons to come out with a win.
Instead, Wyoming crushed the Aggies to deal a near-fatal blow to the team’s chances of playing for a conference title. After playing arguably their best game of the season last week, Utah State failed to show up in what ended up being the most important game of the year.
Just like they have all season, the Aggies fell behind to start the game, but this time there would be no comeback. It seems as though that having to always come from behind caught up with them. Trailing 7-0 and then 14-7, Utah State tied the game at 14, but after 10 straight Wyoming points, the game was never within reach.
The defense that allowed just 150 yards of offense to the reigning Mountain West champion San Jose State – including just 12 yards rushing – was nowhere to be found. Wyoming racked up 602 yards of offense, 362 yards on the ground. On 49 rushing attempts, the Cowboys averaged 7.4 yards per carrying.
The offense was poor on the night as well. Quarterback Logan Bonner completed just 19-of-40 passes for only 181 yards. The Aggies accrued just 362 yards on offense, turning the ball over three times. The nation’s leading receiver Deven Thompkins was held to just 67 yards receiving.
Even special teams were an issue, allowing a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
In short, the Cowboys showed up to play. At 5-5 and needing a sixth win for a bowl invite, Wyoming was motivated to play the spoiler for Utah State’s season.
They did just that, and now the Aggies are hanging on to ever-dwindling chances of representing the Mountain Division in the conference’s championship game. At 8-3 overall and 5-2 in conference play, Utah State is now in a three-way tie atop the Mountain Division. But due to losing the head-to-head matchup with Boise State but defeating Air Force, the Aggies are basically in second for now.
In order to advance to the conference title game, Utah State needs to win on Friday at New Mexico, while also needing Boise State to lose to West Division leader San Diego State. If the Aggies win and the Broncos lose, the Air Force result doesn’t play a factor. A win over New Mexico and losses by both Boise State and Ait Force would also get the Aggies to the title game.
With one week remaining, the pressure is turned up and the stakes are the highest they’ve been all season. Let’s hope the Aggies are up to the task of taking down the Lobos and hope the Aztecs can help us out on the other side too.