The only thing the Utah State Aggies could say after a 50-19 beatdown by No. 23 Boise State on Sat. Nov. 29 was, Jay Ajayi-yi-yi. Actually, it was more like Jay Ajayi-yi-yi-yi-yi, because the junior running back and sure NFL Draft early entrant ran for five touchdowns and 229 yards, trampling a top-ranked Aggie defense in the process.
Just how good was Boise State on this night on the blue turf at Albertsons Stadium? The Broncos scored four touchdowns on their first four drives–something the Tennessee Vols couldn’t do. In fact, nobody had done that to this Utah State Aggies Football team, who will end the regular season with four beat up quarterbacks and four losses.
Although the Aggies season is far from over, this one hurt bad because Utah State (9-4) was looking at one of the New Year’s Bowl games had it upset the Broncos in Boise and then won the Mountain West Conference title. Alas, it wasn’t to be for the Aggies on this chilly night as Boise State (10-2) proved its 63-point outing at Wyoming last week was no fluke.
“(Our performance) was very uncharacteristic of us. We didn’t have the answers and that starts with me. We didn’t execute well enough and didn’t play physical enough, ” Wells said. “My hat is off to (Boise State head coach) Bryan Harsin and his staff. They won, they played well and they deserve to win. Congratulations to them and I mean that sincerely. They out-physicaled us and out-executed us. And we didn’t have the answers to fix it.”
The problems for Utah State started almost as soon as the clock started running. Because when the clock started running, so did Ajayi, who wasted no time finding the end zone in dancing through tackles for a 9-yard touchdown, the first of five for him.
After Utah State quarterback Kent Myers–the fourth QB this year due to injury–threw an interception, Boise State galloped down the field and scored on a 2-yard toss to make it 14-0 halfway through the first quarter.
To the Aggies credit though, they would answer back, getting a 9-yard gallop from Myers, who atoned this once for his mistake, making it 14-7 Boise State. Ajayi would take the game on his back on the next drive, smashing through Utah State tacklers before he high-stepped it into the end zone for his second score and a 20-7 lead. Then Utah State blocked the PAT and ran it back for a defensive PAT to cut Boise State’s advantage to 20-9.
And that was just the first quarter. The scary thing was, despite Ajayi running for 66 yards and two scores, the Aggies had run for 89 yards themselves and were only down 11 points. Utah State’s biggest problem by far though was Ajayi, who skipped through tacklers for his third TD, an 8-yard jaunt to give Boise State a 27-9 lead with 11:47 left to play in the first half. Then came the ensuing kickoff.
Kick returner Jalen Davis fielded it cleanly enough, even getting a crease as he slipped through the first set of Boise State tacklers. But, as Davis looked for more, he lost the football, watching in vain as a Bronco player stripped the ball from his arm.
Boise State pounced on the football, recovering it at the Utah State 22. Seven plays later and even after the Broncos were penalized 10 yards for holding, they scored another TD on a pass play to go up 34-9 with 11:47 in the half.
Utah State would eventually grab a field goal from Nick Diaz towards the end of the first half, but that was only because it finally started converting 3rd downs–it hadn’t gotten one first down in the first quarter.
Aggie running back LaJuan Hunt even had 64 yards on just three carries, but the deficit, well, it was too great for Utah State to overcome. In the second half, Utah State even came out with something to prove, yet its offense couldn’t muster anything worthwhile.
The game stayed at 34-12 going into the final quarter. Boise State had just 50 total yards in the third quarter. Utah State fans were probably smelling an upset in the making and the Aggies defense was getting to Boise State’s QB, sacking him four times.
11 seconds into the fourth quarter, the balloon was about to pop in Boise. Ajayi zipped off tackle, running into the breeze for a 62-yard touchdown, his fourth, and a 41-12 Boise State lead. After Myers fumbled on the ensuing drive on the Boise State 41, it was over.
Ajayi scrambled one yard off tackle to his left, dancing into the end zone with the same gait as he had in the outset, giving Boise State a 48-12 lead with 9:21 left. Utah State would get one late on a 50-yard fumble recovery for a score. The Aggies did shut down Boise State’s vaunted passing attack for the most part and even found a way to stop the high-scoring Broncos from scoring, but this was all Ajayi.
“He’s the best back in the league. First goal was to stop him and we didn’t do it,” Wells said. “He ran behind his pads and he was strong and physical. It was very unlike our defense to allow that to happen.”