What in the Wide World of Sports sponsored by Maverik Country Stores happened to the Utah State football team Thursday? Amid the gleaming lights of downtown Logan on a postcard evening, with the mountains hanging off the sky like Christmas tree ornaments come early, the Aggies were literally gift wrapped a victory by playing Southern Utah of the lower-tier FCS in this season opener.
Like that means anything, said the visiting Thunderbirds, who added forget you Chuckie Keeton you Heisman Trophy poser, pummeling dude to the tune of forcing him to throw 17 incompletions for a grand total of 110 passing yards.The Aggies ran for lots more yardage, but hey, when you don’t score running the football either does it really mean anything in the grand scheme of things?
Sure, everyone wants to know, did Keeton run the ball? Uh, nah. Six totes of the rock for good old No. 16–for seven yards. Seven. Yes, you’re thinking that’s a low number for a guy who in his career has run for um, 1,227 more yards.
So how then did the Aggies win 12-9 over SUU? Defense, baby. Just 73 yards rushing and 111 passing for the visitors from Cedar City. In what might be the lamest of the lame game stories ever, SUU scored first on a textbook touchdown pass–but got the point after blocked, which the Aggies returned to the end zone for two points. Wait a minute, are we at a USU-SUU rugby game?
Oi, mate, said nobody among the 21,209 fans packed inside newly christened Maverik Stadium (named after the gas stations) who were probably wondering, like everyone else was wondering, what in tarnation are we watching?!?
Before this scintillating game ended, the two teams punted 28 times (!!!!). As fans looked for the nearest concession stands with which to eat and drink themselves into a stupor, Utah State finally broke through kind of, snapping a field goal to cut SUU’s lead to 6-5 in the second quarter. If you thought you were watching a field hockey game, you weren’t the only ones.
Needing a miracle against the beast that is apparently the T-Birds football team, Aggies fans chewed their fingernails down to their quiks and spit the contents on the floor, clutching their lucky rabbit’s feet as seconds ticked off to end the third quarter.
With just under five minutes to go in the game, a ray of hope bleated over the folks in Aggie blue–at least for the ones who stayed. Andrew Rodriguez, a guy nobody heard of before this game, found a crease and screamed through the SUU coverage team for an 88-yard punt return TD–the first and only TD the Aggies would score this evening. Does it bother anyone that Utah State needed a hero to rescue them from despair and complete humiliation?
“It’s a little bit poetic, because that guy wasn’t even a starter at the position when we started the night. It just goes to show the fight in the kid and the fight in our team. They didn’t give up one time,” said Utah State head coach Matt Wells. “I’m proud of our kids for hanging in there when it didn’t look good. It wasn’t pretty, I’m not going to try and put lipstick on a pig. There are a lot of things to correct, but a win’s a win.”
It was the slimmest of victories over a team that probably doesn’t have one kid who could play for the team Utah State plays next week–rival Utah. Dear. God. Please. Help.