Aggies win nailbiter as Rams’ last second field goal misses left – Cache Valley Daily

LOGAN—Field goals were the difference in Utah State’s 26-24 win over Colorado State Friday night. While twelve of the Aggies’ points came from four Connor Coles field goals, it was a missed field goal from CSU in the final seconds that secured the victory.

As the Rams lined up for the final kick, Aggie head coach Blake Anderson said he was wondering how his opponent even got in that position. Just four minutes earlier, USU had the ball and a nine-point lead. Since that time CSU had picked up a touchdown, forced a USU punt in the final minute and moved the ball 61 yards into field goal range.

“They did a great job maneuvering that drive to get themselves in that position,” Anderson said.

But the kick went too far left, and Anderson came away with another stress-inducing win. The win moved USU to 5-2 overall and 3-1 in conference play. Four of the five wins were within four points or less. Every win until Friday night’s had been a comeback of ten points or more.

“I would have loved to have seen us get some more points on the board late and put this thing out of reach so it didn’t have to be quite so entertaining at the end,” Anderson said. “But it’s a great team win over a really good football team.”

Aggie quarterback Logan Bonner completed 17-of-33 passes for 233 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, but it didn’t come easily. Bonner was sacked eight times during the night. Anderson acknowledged that USU’s offensive line is dealing with injuries, but gave credit to CSU and their talented edge rushers.

“They are really good up front,” Wells said of CSU. “We knew they were. The stats show that. The games that they’ve played recently show that.”

Both Aggie touchdown passes went to senior wide receiver Derek Wright, who had 63 yards. Senior wide receiver Deven Thompkins caught the ball 11 times for 104 yards. Sophomore running back Elelyon Noa led USU in rushing with 26 carries for 102 yards.

Coles’ four made field goals was a career best for the senior. It was a turnaround from last week’s performance in Las Vegas, where Coles missed all three attempts.

“I did everything I could to make sure that I wouldn’t let the team down again,” Coles said. “I’m really happy I was able to perform and help us win this game.”

CSU running back David Bailey carried the ball 30 times for 166 yards and two touchdowns.  Quarterback Todd Centeio completed 18-of-29 passes for 282 yards, one touchdown and an interception.

After a scoreless first quarter, the offenses traded punches in the second. Utah State struck first. Aggie corner Michael Anyawu’s forced fumble turned into a 25-yard touchdown pass to Derek Wright, but Colorado State found the endzone on the next possession. Bailey’s four-yard touchdown run came at the end of a 14-play, 78 drive that included three third-down conversions—two were from seven yards out and the third was from 15.

The Aggie offense responded quickly. In just 1:56 of game time, USU moved the ball 76 yards to the endzone. It was Wright, again, who caught the touchdown pass—this time from 38 yards out on fourth down. Both were in the same south endzone, in the same west corner.

“It’s that corner,” Wright said. “I don’t know what it is. I like going that way.”

Colorado State struck back barely more than two minutes later, tying the game at 14 on a seven-play, 75-yard drive. The score came on a two-yard Bailey run, his second of the game.

Coles picked up his first two field goals within sixty seconds of each other. USU took a 17-14 lead on his first one, a 45-yarder. Then, after USU’s Anyawu recovered a short pooch kick on the CSU 24, Coles hit a 30-yard field goal. USU went into the break leading 20-14.

Coles had his third field goal, this one from 42-yards, early in the second half. It was USU’s only score in the third quarter and gave USU a nine-point lead, but the Aggie defense was able to hold CSU scoreless during the same stretch. The Ram offense finally broke through in the fourth on a 43-yard fourth-quarter Centeio pass to Gary Williams, which set up a 42-yard Cayden Camper field goal. With just 9:05 left to play, Colorado State was again within a touchdown, trailing 23-17.

USU’s offense responded by working another four minutes off the clock and getting close enough for Coles to hit his fourth field goal of the game, a 34-yarder that extended USU’s lead to 26-17.

CSU continued to battle. Taking just 1:21 seconds off the clock, Centeio moved the ball 73 yards and found Williams in the endzone, trimming the Aggie lead to 26-24 with just 3:31 remaining. USU couldn’t respond and punted the ball back to the Rams with 44 seconds left. Anyanwu said the Aggie defense might have been playing “a little conservative” during the final drive, but said Colorado State’s offense was just making plays.

“We’ve got to be better in that situation,” he said. “Best case scenario is to get off the field, so we need to get off the field.”

It only took Centeio six plays to get his team into field goal range, but after completing the last pass, CSU elected not to spike the ball and rushed the kicking team on. The ball missed left.

USU will stay in Logan and host Hawaii Saturday Oct. 30 at 1 p.m.

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