Utah State Claims Mountain Division Title With Win Over New Mexico

Utah State Football

In a game they absolutely had to win to have a chance at representing the Mountain Division in the Mountain West championship game, the Aggies came out firing on all cylinders, no comeback necessary this week.

Utah State got on top early, taking the lead when Logan Bonner found Derek Wright for a 27-yard score at the 8:42 mark of the opening quarter. 

The Aggies extended the lead at the start of the second quarter when Bonner tossed a 39-yard touchdown to Jordan Nathan for a 14-0 advantage.

The Aggies added two more scores before halftime to take the 28-0 lead to put the game away before the second half had even begun.

Bonner connected with Brandon Bowling for his third touchdown pass and followed it up with a 76-yard bomb to a wide-open Derek Wright.

The Aggies added the final points on the scoreboard offensively with just under six minutes left in the third quarter, with Bonner finding Justin McGriff, who reached over the defender for the 10-yard catch and 35-0 lead. 

The touchdown pass was Bonner’s fifth of the game, tying a single-game school record set by both Chuckie Keeton and Jordan Love.

New Mexico finally got on the board in the third, converting a 41-yard field goal and also adding a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

The Aggies put in the backups for the final frame to see out a 35-10 victory over the Lobos.

Logan Bonner completed 16-of-23 passes for 312 yards and five touchdowns, while Derek Wright led all receivers with 150 yards and three scores.

Utah State’s defense racked up 12 tackles for loss, holding the Lobos to 186 yards of offense and 10 points.

Getting Help

Even with a win, Utah State needed some help to claim the division title. San Diego State and Boise State were facing off at the same time USU was on the field, with the Aggies needing a San Diego State win to seal the trip to the conference title game. 

The Aztecs trailed 16-3 to the Broncos before scoring 24 unanswered points to win 27-16, simultaneously sending themselves and the Aggies to the conference title game.

The winners of the West Division, San Diego State finished the regular season 11-1 and is currently ranked 21st in the CFP poll.

Mountain Division Champs!

Utah State was picked to finish fifth (out of six) in the preseason Mountain Division poll, but instead, first-year head coach Blake Anderson has the Aggies winning the division outright for the first time since 2013, Utah State’s first year in the conference.

The nine wins are the most for a coach in his first season at a program in the country in 2021, while it is also Utah State’s most wins in a season since 2018 when they went 11-2.

Road Warriors

Despite just a 3-3 record at home this season, the Aggies went an impressive 6-0 on the road. It is the first time the team has gone undefeated on the road in program history.

Utah State outscored its opponents 221-132 away from Maverik Stadium, notching upset wins over Pac-12 member Washington State, 9-win Air Force, and defending Mountain West champion San Jose State.

School Records Broken

Not only did Bonner tie the single-season school record for touchdown passes in a game (five), he also tied now Packers quarterback Jordan Love for the single-season passing touchdowns record, throwing 32 during the season. This record will certainly belong to Bonner entirely by the year’s end, seeing as he has two games remaining on the schedule.

Wide receiver Deven Thompkins also set a record in the win over the Lobos. Catching five passes for 35 yards, he now holds the Aggies single-season receiving yards record with 1,543 – passing the former record of 1,531 yards set by Kevin Curtis in 2001.

Up Next

The Aggies will face West Division winner San Diego State on Saturday, December 4 at 1 p.m. MT in the Mountain West Championship Game.

The game will be played at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California and can be seen on Fox.

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