The Gildan New Mexico has served up some wackiness over the last few years, but this year’s game has been a much more defensive battle so far. Utah State holds the upper hand at the break, leading UTEP 7-3 at the half.
It may not matter who is playing quarterback for Utah State this season, because they just seem to make plays. Kent Myers, who started the season as Utah State’s fourth-string quarterback, gave the Aggies a 7-3 lead with a 48-yard touchdown run in the first quarter against UTEP in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Myers had to receive some medical treatment in the second quarter, but he returned to finish off Utah State’s final possession of the half.
UTEP got the scoring started early with a 32-yard field goal by Jay Mattox from 30 yards out to cap a game-opening drive of seven plays and 60 yards. The Miners were later stuffed on a fourth and four situation inside the Utah State 10-yard line. The Aggies capitalized on the game-changing sequence by sending Ronald Butler off to the races for a 61-yard gain on the first play of the ensuing possession. With time running short, the Aggies had to settle for a field goal attempt in the final seconds of the first half. The kick, after a UTEP timeout, was wide left.
The game has, for the most part, been pretty evenly played. One area UTEP has the clear advantage in is turnover margin. The Miners offense has not lost the football, but UTEP has forced two turnovers in the first half. Once UTEP gets their hands on the football though, they have been unable to cash in. Credit the Utah State offense for bailing out their offense.
As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.
A righteous salute
Daniel Rodriguez earned a Purple Heart and was awarded the Bronze Star for his military service in Afghanistan several years ago. Rodriguez moved on to become a wide receiver at Clemson, walking on to the Tigers football team after serving two tours of duty. For those of you who aren’t familiar with his heartwarming story, you should be. For those who are, there’s another chapter to add to it. In the Tigers’ home finale Saturday, Rodriguez caught the first touchdown of his career, a two-yarder from backup Cole Stoudt less than a minute into the fourth quarter. The best part? The touchdown came on a Senior Day that also doubled as Military Appreciation Day. A bona-fide war hero scores a touchdown on a day that honors the military? It doesn’t get much better than that. And, dammit, it got dusty in here when that highlight came across my television screen. God bless Rodriguez for his service. And God bless Dabo Swinney for not only giving Rodriguez the opportunity to write this story, but for allowing him to add this on-field chapter to it.
OSU wins, as does OSU
Thanks to a team with the same acronym, Ohio State can stuff the phrase “style points” back in the closet for at least another year. With Oklahoma State’s win over Baylor, the Buckeyes are now the clear-cut No. 3 team in the country, perched just outside of the Top Two and awaiting a stumble — either on the field or off — by Alabama or Florida State to clear a spot in the BCS title game — provided they remain perfect, of course. The Bears had been poised to leapfrog the Buckeyes in the BCS rankings with a win over the No. 10 Cowboys, standing just .0013 percentage points behind OSU entering Week 13. Now, not only has BU lost out on what most certainly would’ve been a No. 3 slotting in this week’s BCS rankings, but they’ve given up control of the conference as well. That honor, of course, now falls to the “other” OSU. If the Cowboys can upend Oklahoma in the annual Bedlam matchup Dec. 7, they would claim the Big 12’s automatic BCS bid. If the Cowboys loses, the winner of the Texas-Baylor game the same weekend — if the Longhorns handle Texas Tech on Thanksgiving and the Bears do the same with TCU two days later — would claim the conference title and the BCS berth. And if there were a three-way tie? Oklahoma State, on the strength of head-to-head wins over Baylor and Texas, would win the tiebreaker and the conference title.
One of the games most dynamic playmakers has been essentially sidelined for the 2013 season due to injury.
To the detriment of MACtion fans everywhere, it appears that absence will continue.
Kent State’s Dri Archer suffered a sprained ankle in the first quarter of the Golden Flashes’ season-opening win over Liberty and did not return. After not playing the next weekend against Bowling Green, the running back participated in just a handful of plays in the blowout loss to LSU.
The injury continues to linger, leaving KSU head coach Paul Haynes decidedly pessimistic about the All-MAC performers’ availability for Saturday’s game against Penn State.
“Dri is kind of back to where we’ll see where he is,” the coach said. “He played about seven plays (at LSU) and didn’t feel great out there. So we’re going to assess him as the week goes on and see how it is, but he’s probably doubtful right now.”
Last season, Archer scored 23 touchdowns — 17 rushing, three receiving and three on kick returns. He finished fifth in the country with 184.1 all-purpose yards per game.
One of the top players in the MAC has his sights on making a quick return to the football field. In an email exchange, a Kent State athletics official tells College Football Talk running back Dri Archer “plans on playing vs. Bowling Green.”
Of course, every player would plan on returning to play in the next game. That is how players are programmed. Time will tell just how quickly Archer’s ankle allows him to get back in the offensive mix.
Archer left Kent State’s Thursday night opener against Liberty with an ankle injury. Archer had an ankle concern leading in to the game but practiced with the team in the days leading up to the opener. Archer had to leave the game in the first half against Liberty. His status had been declared questionable for the remainder of the night and he did not return to the field.
Kent State’s upcoming schedule is a challenge, and could be extra treacherous without Archer in the line-up. Next week Kent State hosts Bowling Green, who dominated defending Conference USA champion Tulsa Thursday night, next weekend on September 7. After Bowling Green, the Golden Flashes will take to the road to take on LSU (September 14) and Penn State on (September 21). Two weeks later, on October 5, Jordan Lynch and defending MAC champion Northern Illinois visits Kent State as well.
If Archer does not come back soon, Kent State could be facing a tough road ahead. Kent State barely got by Liberty at home Thursday night, holding on for a 17-10 victory.
One of the MAC’s top players had to leave a game early Thursday night and his return is questionable. Kent State’s Dri Archer left with an ankle injury according to the school’s official Twitter account.
Archer participated in a practice earlier this week with a brace on his ankle, so he entered the game with a concern. The injury was not thought to be serious, but his departure from the game tonight surely will wave a warning flag.
Archer rushed for 1,429 yards and 16 touchdowns last season for Kent State and added another 561 receiving yards and four touchdowns in 2012. Archer’s loss is rather significant for Kent State, and may play a role in to why Kent State is struggling to put away FCS Liberty in the Thursday night opener. Midway through the third quarter Kent State is clinging to just a 7-3 lead on the Flames.
If Kent State were piling on the points, Archer’s questionable return would come off as nothing more than hoping for the best and giving their best player some extra rest before hosting a key MAC game next week against Bowling Green. Kent State then plays back-to-back road games at LSU and Penn State.
Archer also took his first snap at quarterback in his career as part of a wildcat formation.