8:00 PM ET, September 7, 2012
Romney Stadium, LOGAN, UT
LOGAN, Utah -- Utah State had blown so many double-digit second-half leads, the Aggies could have had called themselves the heartbreak kids.
On Friday night they screamed in elation, instead of disgust, as they pulled out a wild, 27-20 overtime victory -- halting a 12-game losing streak to instate rival Utah.
"Hell, yeah," Utah State coach Gary Andersen yelled from midfield, surrounded by jubilant fans who poured out of the stands after a last-ditch Utah pass fell incomplete in the end zone. "Now, how about that! The Aggies are back."
Andersen, who coached 11 years at Utah, can take much of the credit for the turnaround. He led the Aggies to a bowl game last season as they played in a nation-leading 10 games decided by one score, and seven decided in the last minute.
This one would be no different -- especially with Utah starting quarterback Jordan Wynn knocked out in the second quarter with yet another injury to his left (non-throwing) shoulder -- the same shoulder he had season-ending surgery on last October.
The Aggies (2-0) rewrote this ending, with Chuckie Keeton passing for two touchdowns and setting up the winning score in overtime with a 23-yard scramble to the 1. Running back Kerwynn Williams took it in from there on the first possession of OT.
"It has been so long since we beat Utah that when I scored that touchdown, I didn't want to stop running," said Williams, who finished with 95 yards rushing on 17 carries.
The Aggies hadn't beaten Utah since 1997, and not in Logan since 1996. That wasn't lost on the students, who had five sections of sold-out Romney Stadium filled an hour before kickoff, and they stormed the field afterward.
Utah State senior linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu was overcome with emotion after the game in which he set a career high with 12 tackles.
"I have waited so long for this day to come," Filimoeatu said. "Growing up, my family was all Utah fans, and that's all I've ever heard about. But I had fun introducing them to the new Utah State."
Utah, meanwhile, has to deal with a bigger rival next week in Brigham Young (1-0) as well as another quarterback quandary, then a tough Pac-12 schedule.
"We made a few plays, sure, but it wasn't enough," said senior quarterback Jon Hays, who replaced Wynn just as he did last year. "There's really no silver lining to this game."
Utah trailed 13-0, and 20-13 but Hays did his best to rally the Utes.
Coleman Petersen had a chance to win it for Utah (1-1) on the final play of regulation but was short on a 52-yard field goal attempt after connecting earlier on kicks from 40 and 42 yards.
"It's devastating, because we lost to a team that's not even in the Pac-12," said running back John White, held to 96 yards on 27 carries. "To lose to Utah State is horrible."
Utah had a touchdown catch by Jake Murphy in overtime nullified when Murphy was called for interference.
Wynn finished 6 of 11 for 47 yards, and was sacked three times.
Hays finished 12 of 26 for 154 yards, and was outplayed by Keeton, who live up to the hype he generated in his college debut against defending national champion Auburn last year. He started 6 of 8, including a 15-yard TD pass to Joe Hill that put the Aggies up 13-0, and finished 22 of 32 for 216 yards with 2 TDs. He also rushed for 94 yards on 17 carries.
"It's a huge win for this program in a game we've had our eyes set on for a long time," said Andersen, whose team blocked a punt for a TD for the first time since 2002 to open the scoring.
Andersen knows it could be the last game played between the rivals in Logan.
The teams are set to play in Salt Lake City in 2013 and 2015, but scheduling is an issue as Utah plays in the Pac-12, and the Aggies are headed to the Mountain West next season.
"It's the biggest win I've been a part of," said Keeton, who is from Houston. "Seeing the fans rush the field was incredible. This is Hall of Fame weekend here. ... Many said this is the biggest thing that's happened around here in a long while."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||2-17||2-13|
|4th Down Conversions||1-2||0-1|
|TD||07:59||Clayton Christensen Recovered Blocked Punt In End Zone. (Brock Warren Kick)||0||7|
|TD||00:03||Joe Hill 15 Yd Pass From Chuckie Keeton. (Pat Failed)||0||13|
|FG||00:00||Coleman Petersen 42 Yd||3||13|
|TD||11:34||Kenneth Scott 28 Yd Pass From Travis Wilson. (Coleman Petersen Kick)||10||13|
|FG||04:22||Coleman Petersen 40 Yd||13||13|
|TD||09:10||Kellen Bartlett 4 Yd Pass From Chuckie Keeton. (Josh Thompson Kick)||13||20|
|TD||03:19||Kenneth Scott 24 Yd Pass From Jon Hays. (Coleman Petersen Kick)||20||20|
|TD||Kerwynn Williams 1 Yd Run. (Josh Thompson Kick)||20||27|