Utah State started the second half with a false start on the opening play, surely not what they wanted right after the break. Chuckie Keeten sailed his first pass attempt wide, and has been largely inconsistent through much of this game against the relentless attack of the Trojan defense. On third down, USC linebacker Hayes Pullard dropped an Aggies Wide receiver with a monster hit, resulting in an incomplete pass and a three-and-out for Utah State.
Looking frazzled and out of sorts, Utah State has appeared at times relatively average and non-threatening against the best of Clancy Pendergast’s defense.
USC moved down the field on it’s first drive of the half, creeping into Utah State territory. Marqise Lee picked up a 14-yard pass for a first down when he tiptoed along the sidelines, moving the Trojans within the Aggies 30-yard line. The Trojans botched a snap and the ball rolled into the backfield, but Tre Madden scooped it up and avoided what could have been disastrous for USC. Unable to reach the endzone, kicker Andre Heidari took the field for a 46-yard field goal, and it was no good.
Utah State shook things up on their next drive, going no-huddle and flustering USC’s defense. They moved the ball down the field methodically in a nine-play, 72-yard drive that culminates in Keeton hitting Travis Reynolds for a 10-yard score.
Tied at 14, USC started to feel the pressure from the Aggies.
Cody Kessler stepped up in the pocket and hit Nelson Agholor for a 19-yard gain over the middle, giving Trojan fans a little breathing room as the team started to march down the field. USC ultimately had to punt though, putting the ball back in Keeton’s hands.
It would produce nothing for the Aggies, and the Trojan defense again stifled them at every opportunity.
Feeling the pressure from USC, Utah State’s punter absolutely shanked a punt late in the quarter, setting up the Trojans to start over on downs inside the Aggies’ 30-yard line. Tre Madden ground out seven yards on the first play, then Kessler audibled and hit Xavier Grimble for a first-down pick up at the 18-yard line.
USC did not score in the third quarter in what has been a troubling trend for them, but they are knocking on Utah State’s door entering the fourth quarter.