Utah State Aggies

Getty Images

Washington State reportedly hires Utah State co-defensive coordinator Kendrick Shaver

Leave a comment

The NCAA-approved 10th assistant became official on Tuesday, and so far the highest-profile hire — by far — has been Ohio State’s plucking of Washington State defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. In just three seasons on staff, the 37-year-old Grinch took a defense that was 99th nationally in total defense the year prior to his arrival and transformed them to the 16th-best unit in college football this season.

Grinch’s loss is one that Mike Leach does not believe can be filled by just one replacement.

Wazzu has already hired ex-Minnesota head coach Tracy Claeys to serve as defensive coordinator, but now the Cougars are moving on another up-and-comer to also join the staff.

According to UStateAggies and the Seattle Times, Utah State co-defensive coordinator Kendrick Shaver will join the staff in an as-yet-undefined role.

Officially, Shaver will fill the role left by outside linebackers coach Roy Manning, who left Pullman to become Chip Kelly‘s special teams coordinator in Westwood, but the guess here is Shaver oversees the secondary in a co-defensive coordinator role.

Shaver spent six seasons on staff at Utah State, where he was selected by his peers as a co-recipient of the FootballScoop Defensive Backs Coach of the Year award in 2012. Under Shaver’s guidance, Utah State recorded three seasons in which it ranked among the top 25 nationally in pass efficiency defense, including this season.

 

Ex-Oregon State, Wisconsin HC Gary Andersen (re)joins Utah staff

Getty Images
Leave a comment

The next stop on Gary Andersen‘s coaching journey will once take him back to the Beehive State.

Utah announced that Kyle Whittingham has added Andersen to his Utes coaching staff.  Andersen, who will carry the title of associate head coach and serve as an unspecified defensive assistant, will officially begin his duties Jan. 9, the date the NCAA rule that adds a 10th assistant goes into effect.

This will mark Andersen’s third coaching stint at his alma mater, the first coming from 1997-2202 and the second from 2004-2008.

“Returning to the Utah football family is something my wife Stacey and I are very excited about,” said Andersen in a statement. “Having an opportunity to coach at your alma mater is somewhat unusual and having the opportunity to do it again is certainly special. Kyle Whittingham is a great coach and I look forward to working alongside him again. I am fired up to meet the players and go to work.”

Andersen left Utah the second time to take over as the head coach at Utah State in 2009, where he spent four seasons before leaving for Wisconsin.  After two seasons in Madison, he abruptly left to take the same job at Oregon State.

In the middle of his third season at the Pac-12 OSU, Andersen abruptly quit as the Beavers’ head coach.

“We’re looking forward to Gary rejoining our staff,” Whittingham said. “Gary brings a wealth of high-level coaching experience to the program, including serving as the head coach at two Power Five schools. During his previous time on our staff, he developed some of the best defensive linemen in Utah history. In addition, he is an excellent recruiter and motivator and understands what it takes to win at this level.”

Five decades in the making, New Mexico State pulls out overtime win in the Arizona Bowl to beat Utah State

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It was a rematch 57 years in the making and both sides wanted to soak up every extra moment. New Mexico State ended the NCAA’s longest bowl drought in dramatic fashion to beat Utah State 26-20 in overtime on Friday night in an Arizona Bowl full of the highs and lows of college football.

In front of what seemed like half of Las Cruces at the home stadium of the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson, the Aggies put behind several quarters of offensive malaise by marching 69 yards midway through the fourth quarter to tie the game on an incredible Jaleel Scott catch in the end zone. The NMSU defense came up with a stop in the extra period not long after and a missed field goal by USU was just the opening the team needed before running back Larry Rose III burst up the middle for a 21 yard touchdown that set off pandemonium in the stands.

The victory not only gave the Aggies of New Mexico State their first win in the postseason since 1960 — which happened to be a 20-13 defeat of Utah State in the Sun Bowl — but capped off a pretty incredible story for one of the smallest programs in all of FBS. Rose finished the game with 142 yards on the ground and was the team’s leading receiver in the game as well. His running made up for a rather lackluster offensive day for quarterback Tyler Rogers (191 yards, one TD, two INTs) and company as the group had eight 3-and-outs against one of the better secondaries at the Group of Five level.

While those long stretches without points or any kind of offensive production made things hard to watch at times in this one, there was at least plenty of excitement early in the first quarter when Utah State’s Savon Scarver (96 yards) and NMSU’s Jason Huntley ran back-to-back kickoffs for touchdowns not five minutes in.

The loss caps off another tough season for Matt Wells’ Aggies after they led in just about every statistical category but saw kicker Dominik Eberle make only two of his six field goal attempts to let a win slip through their fingers. QB Jordan Love (254 yards passing) and RB LaJuan Hunt (133 yards rushing, 1 TD) both had decent outings but it wasn’t enough as points came at a premium for both sides.

The game also marks the end of an era for New Mexico State as it was their final contest as a member of a conference — in this case the Sun Belt. The program will operate as a football independent in 2018 and, funny enough, will play Utah State again next September up in Logan. Something says both sets of Aggies will have plenty to play for when that one rolls around in what should be a fun footnote to a long, long drought being emphatically ended on Friday.

New Mexico State tied with Utah State at halftime of the Arizona Bowl

Getty Images
Leave a comment

New Mexico State waited 57 years to return to the postseason and it’s pretty clear the team were fired up to play in the Arizona Bowl as they took a 13-all tie into halftime with their fellow Aggies of Utah State on Friday evening in Tucson.

It didn’t take long at all for NMSU to get on the board, as they marched right down the field for 91 yards on their first drive in the postseason over five decades before eventually settling for a short field goal.

Utah State responded however, needing just 14 seconds to take the lead back after Savon Scarver returned the kickoff 96 yards to the house. Not to be outdone, the other Aggies decided to play a little ‘Anything you can do, I can do better’ apparently. That’s because Jason Huntley followed the play up with a full 100 yd kickoff return touchdown to make it back-to-back and put his team back in the lead.

Things settled down in the game after that brief bit of excitement as both sides exchanged field goals down the stretch and both defenses appears to find their legs.

USU signal-caller Jordan Love found some success through the air with 136 yards on 24 attempts through two quarters but it was mostly the result of the Aggies ground game unable to find much after five different players recorded a carry but could only muster 45 yards.

New Mexico State was much better in that department as tailback Larry Rose III averaged just over eight yards a carry and had 66 total yards going into the break. He formed a nice balanced attack with quarterback Tyler Rogers, who had 82 yards in the air but did toss an interception.

Given some of the skill position players involved in this game you probably could have expected a few more points in the first half but there’s still plenty of time left in one of the few remaining non-New Year’s bowls left on the docket between a pair of Aggies hoping to grab one more win in 2017.

CFT Previews: Your Dec. 29 Bowl Viewer’s Guide

Getty Images
1 Comment

Taking a quick-hit look at the Dec. 29 bowl menu, which today features a Texas-style Rose Bowl as Big Ten champ Ohio State faces Pac-12 champ USC in the Cotton Bowl.

WHO: Wake Forest (7-5) vs. Texas A&M (7-5)
WHAT: The 16th Belk Bowl
WHEN: 1 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: Bank of American Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina
THE LINE: Texas A&M, +3
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

__________

WHO: North Carolina State (7-5) vs. Arizona State (7-5)
WHAT: The 84th Hyundai Sun Bowl
WHEN: 3 p.m. ET on CBS
WHERE: Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas
THE LINE: Arizona State, +7
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

__________

WHO: No. 21 Northwestern (9-3) vs. Kentucky (7-5)
WHAT:
The 20th Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
WHEN:
4:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: 
Nissan Stadium, Nashville, Tennessee
THE LINE
: Kentucky, +7½
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

__________

WHO: Utah State (6-6) vs. New Mexico State (6-6)
WHAT: 
The 3rd Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl
WHEN: 
5:30 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network
WHERE: 
Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Arizona
THE LINE
: New Mexico State, +4
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.

__________

WHO: No. 5 Ohio State (11-2) vs. No. 8 USC (11-2)
WHAT: 
The 82nd Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
WHEN: 
8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
WHERE: 
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
THE LINE
: USC, +7½
For the remainder of an extended preview, click HERE.