Preview 2018: Utah State Aggies. Another Year, Another Bowl

Preview 2018: Utah State Aggies. Another Year, Another Bowl

2018 Preview

Preview 2018: Utah State Aggies. Another Year, Another Bowl

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What You Need To Know About The Utah State Defense

– The run defense is still a mess for a group that allowed 400 total yards per game, but there was still a whole lot to like from the secondary. Even with the issues, it was an active team that bent, but didn’t break all that often. Now, with nine starters returning, Utah State has to back to being the old Utah State defensively – at least the old D from the Gary Andersen era.

Leading tackler Suli Tamaivena is back at one linebacker spot on the inside, and Chase Christiansen is a good-sized option on the other side coming off a 71-tackle season. Overall, the corps is just okay against the run, but it’s active enough to force a whole slew of big plays. Best of all …

– The Aggies are great at getting off the field. Second in the Mountain West in third down conversion defense, the secondary needs the most work with star Jalen Davis gone at one corner and Dallin Leavitt done at safety. Those two combined for nine of the team’s 13 interceptions.  Fortunately, there’s depth to play around with the options with enough talents to stay in a nickel package more often than not.

– Now the front three has to do its part. It’s just okay at getting into the backfield, but there’s decent size to work around, especially at the rotation on the nose. All but one of the key parts to last year’s D line – end Ian Togiai – returns, but this group doesn’t do much behind the line. 25 Aggies got into the backfield and made something happen – the line doesn’t have to do it alone. However, it can’t get shoved around so much, because …

Biggest Key To The Utah State Defense

The run defense has to be more consistent. It was feast or famine against the Aggie defense last season, allowing 15 of the 20 touchdown runs in four games and 210 yards or more decent times. Air Force ran for 407 yards and won, UNLV ran for 375 and lost.

Mostly, the key for Utah State was being able to take the ball away – coming up with 29 on the year – and holding firm in the red zone. But to make any noise in the Mountain West this year, the D can’t give up over 2,800 yards on the ground again.

NEXT: Top Players, Final Prediction & What Will Happen

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