SUU NOTEBOOK: Special teams keep SUU in game - for a while
Miller was one of the few bright spots Thursday as the T-Birds dropped a 34-3 decision to Utah State at Romney Stadium. In his nine punts, Miller averaged 44.7 yards and forced the Aggies to start inside their 20 four times, including twice from inside the 5-yard line.
But USU emerged from the shadow of its own goalline on each of those occasions and marched into the SUU end zone, once on a 48-yard Chuckie Keeton touchdown pass to Chuck Jacobs to finish off a 98-yard drive, and Joe Hill had the first of his three TD runs from 27 yards out late in the first quarter to complete the surge that put the Aggies firmly in control the rest of the way.
BROTHERLY LOVE: SUU defensive lineman Cody Larsen finally got his chance to play on opposite sides against his younger brother, Utah State junior center Tyler Larsen. The pair didn’t knock heads very often during the game, and Cody admitted to being humbled when in his brother’s presence after the game.
“I couldn’t look at him, or I would have started smiling and laughing,” Cody Larsen said. “I treated him like he was just another player and played that way.”
As for their mother, Barbara Larsen — who wore a tie-dyed shirt split evenly between SUU and USU school colors but sat on the USU side of the field — is happy the whole experience came to a positive end.
“They both had a great game, and that’s all I wanted,” Barbara Larsen said. “It was fun to watch, but I’m glad it’s over. It was hard to watch. I thought ‘should I go back and forth?’”
TURNOVER BATTLE WON: Even with the blowout loss, the SUU defense forced a pair of turnovers, free safety Tommy Collett’s first career interception and a fumble recovery from linebacker Namar Flentroy. The only turnover forced by the Aggies was La’Brad Harold’s interception of a Brad Sorensen pass on the game’s final play.
The plus-1 in the turnover margin is a definite positive T-Bird head coach Ed Lamb will take forward as he gets his team ready for an even tougher test next week at California.
“That’s something we work very hard on,” Lamb said. “The players should continue to take pride in that, and it’s one positive we definitely needed from this game.”
WRONG PLACE, WRONG TIME: Even when there was a ray of hope for the T-Birds, the Aggies were there to pounce and snuff out any signs of a change in momentum. Late in the third quarter, a muffed punt off the foot of Chuck Jacobs caromed forward several yards, but Frankie Sutera was on the spot and fell on the loose ball first at the T-Bird 39.
Hill would strike again with his third TD of the game, a 33-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter, and the Aggies had the game firmly in its corner.