Kyle Van Leeuwen (9) of the Utah Aggies heads the ball up the field while playing the UConn Huskies at Maverik Stadium in Logan on Saturday August 27, 2022. The Aggies won 31-20. (Ben B. Braun, Deseret News)
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LOGAN — Weber State head coach Jay Hill got his win, and it came the Wildcats way.
Buoyed by their spirited defense and fast, consistent offense, Weber State dominated Utah State at Maverik Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The Wildcats outshot the Aggies 402-278 yards, stopped their offense from scoring, and won 35-7.
The 17,781 Aggies stalwart booed the offense throughout the game, the stands thinned out late in the third quarter, and Hill earned his first-ever victory over an FBS opponent in the state — and the Wildcats’ first win. on the state of Utah since 1978.
The Aggies offense, which entered its largely unproven third game of the season, looked helpless throughout the game. Quarterback Logan Bonner completed 12 of 31 passes for 120 yards and threw three interceptions. The running game wasn’t much better as Utah State’s three running backs combined for 126 yards on 35 carries.
Weber State quarterback Bronson Barron had three interceptions himself, but also had 202 passing yards and two touchdowns in the win. Josh Davis rushed for 94 yards for 18 yards, and Damond Bankston had 18 carries for 54 yards.
Despite his offensive incompetence, the Aggies kept the game close and trailed 13-7 in the third quarter. Then Weber State hammered an 18-play, 86-yard drive that was capped off by a Barron touchdown to TY MacPherson to give the Wildcats a two-point lead.
On the Aggies’ next possession, Wildcats safety Desmond Williams jumped on a read in the middle and picked off Bonner, then ran him into the end zone to give the Ogden visitors a 28-7 lead. When Bonner trotted back onto the field, the student section booed and the Aggies ended the practice by turning the ball over on the downs.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the upset victory was Weber State’s ability to control the line of scrimmage. Against an Aggies defensive front missing defensive tackle Hale Motuapuaka, the Wildcats crossed the Utah State front, converted first downs in short-range situations, and totaled 200 rushing yards.
The Wildcats defense managed to pressure Bonner, who didn’t look like himself in 2021 as he continues to recover from a knee injury. The Wildcats put Utah State in several third-and-long situations, some of which the Aggies opted to simply hand the ball over and then send it back to – much to the dismay of the blue-clad home fans.
The Aggies head into a bye week with a lot of work to do, while the Wildcats leave Logan with Northern Utah bragging rights and a win to remember.
This story will be updated.