Utah State Aggies Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Utah State season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
Utah State Aggies Preview
Head Coach: Blake Anderson, 11-3, 2nd year at Utah State
9th year overall, 62-40, 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 11-3, Conference: 6-2
Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Utah State Top 10 Players | Utah State Schedule
Utah State Aggies Preview 2022
It was one of the best stories of 2021.
Blake Anderson was terrific at Arkansas State. He won two Sun Belt championships, got another division title, got to six bowl games and won 51 games in his seven seasons.
In 2019 he tragically lost his wife to cancer, pressed on through, came back for the 2020 season, and after his first losing campaign, left to take over the Utah State job.
The Aggies had a down 2020, but they didn’t need a total overhaul. Anderson came in to a change of scenery, brought some key parts with him, and … boom. He came up with his best season as a head coach.
Coming off an 11 win season with a Mountain West title and a bowl win over Oregon State from the Pac-12, Anderson has been able to bring the program back, his offensive style should keep working, and he’s got a team good enough to shoot for another championship.
Utah State Aggies Preview 2022: Offense
Well that worked just fine.
The Utah State offense got an infusion of energy, talent, and ideas with the new coaching staff getting everything going with the passing game, and the team averaged 446 yards and 33 points per game.
The ground game was okay, the passing attack was amazing, and everything clicked going from averaging 276 yards per game in 2020 to 449 last year.
Veteran quarterback Logan Bonner came over with the coaches from Arkansas State, stepped in, and threw 36 touchdown passes with 12 picks as he pushed the ball down the field without a problem and kept everything moving. On the way is Wyoming transfer Levi Williams – he threw 13 touchdown passes and ran for 13 scores in three seasons.
The combination of Deven Thompkins, Brandon Bowling, and Derek Wright are gone after combining for 206 of the 303 catches and 31 of the 41 touchdown grabs. Bringing in Brian Cobbs from Maryland helps, and Justin McGriff is a good veteran target.
The offensive line needs to be stronger in pass protection, but just about everyone is back – this group did a good enough job – around all-star left tackle Alfred Edwards and right guard Quazzel White. The running game has to be better, though.
The offense doesn’t have to crank up 200 yards per game – it averaged 142 per outing – but it has to be a whole lot better than 3.6 yards per carry. Calvin Tyler led the way with 911 yards and seven scores, and John Gentry adds a quick option, but they combined to average around four yards a pop.
Utah State Aggies Preview 2022: Defense
The defense wasn’t a rock, but it was far improved over the 2020 version. It led the Mountain West in tackles for loss, but gave up close to 400 yards per game. There was a lot of bending but not a ton of breaking.
There were a few strange performances when everything melted down – Wyoming and Air Force went off – but the D allowed 24 points or fewer in seven of the last nine games.
Top playmaker in the backfield Nick Heninger is gone, but Byron Vaughns is a disruptive force on one end, Hale Motu’apuaka is a 6-1, 280-pound anchor on the nose, and there’s help from the transfer portal with Daniel Grzesiak from Nevada for the outside and 280-pound JUCO transfer Tavian Coleman for the interior.
The secondary needs to come up with more big plays. It wasn’t totally awful, but the corners didn’t generate picks or a whole lot of broken up passes. Hunter Reynolds is the leading returning tackler making 83 stops at one safety spot, and Michael Anyanwu is a veteran at one corner.
The transfer portal took corner Cam Lampkin (Washington State) and safety Monte McGary (Kansas), but Miami transfer Gurvan Hall will be a key part at one safety job.
Also coming in is Anthony Switzer from Arkansas State for one outside linebacker job, and Washington’s MJ Tafisi will take over on the inside.