Keeton, defense lift Utah State past Idaho 45-9
- Article by: LYNN DeBRUIN
- Associated Press
- November 24, 2012 - 6:05 PM
LOGAN, Utah - Chuckie Keeton passed for two touchdowns, Kerwynn Williams rushed for 110 yards and senior Will Davis returned an interception 59 yards for a touchdown as No. 25 Utah State beat Idaho 45-9 on Saturday to secure its first outright conference title in 76 years.
The Western Athletic Conference champion Aggies (10-2, 6-0) also earned their first 10-win season.
The Aggies intercepted Taylor Davis three times in the first half and forced him to fumble. Williams' 52-yard run set up Keeton's 3-yard TD pass to Kellen Bartlett early in the third quarter for a 28-9 advantage for the Aggies.
Williams added a 14-yard TD run in the fourth after opening the scoring with a 19-yard TD reception.
Lou Groza Award finalist Trey Farquhar kicked field goals of 38, 46 yards and 52 yards — his 11th career field goal of 50 yards or more — for Idaho (1-11, 1-5).
The Aggies accepted an invitation to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl for the second straight year.
That announcement came after thousands of fans storm the field at Romney Stadium following the record-setting regular season, Utah State's final in the WAC before moving up to the Mountain West Conference.
Fans chanted "WAC Champs" as the clock wound down in the fourth, then turned their attention to head coach Gary Andersen, perhaps the biggest reason for the turnaround for a team once considered a laughingstock.
They shouted "Gary, Gary" for the fourth-year coach, considered one of the hottest prospects in the nation.
Idaho players can only wonder who their next coach will be.
Robb Akey was fired after the Vandals allowed 70 points in a loss to Louisiana Tech, with Jason Gesser taking over as interim coach the last four games.
Despite the miserable season, Idaho came out fired up Saturday, holding Utah State to minus-6 yards on its first possession — the first time in six games the Aggies didn't score a touchdown on their opening possession.
A 61-yard punt then backed Utah State up to its 1on its next possession, and Keeton was intercepted on his first pass attempt of the game by Bradley Njoku at the Aggies' 41.
It was all Utah State after that, thanks to the Aggies' 21st-rated defense.
Senior linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu's first career interception and 48-yard return gave the Aggies the ball at the Idaho 11. A penalty backed the Aggies up, but Keeton found Williams open across the middle on 3rd-and-18. Williams did the rest, making a defender miss and scampering into the end zone for an 19-yard TD reception and 7-0 Utah State lead with 9:42 left in the first.
Another mistake led to Utah State's second touchdown.
B.J. Larsen's first career interception gave the Aggies the ball at the Idaho 23 with 3:59 left in the first, and soon after Keeton scored on a 1-yard keeper for a 14-0 .
Davis put the Aggies up 21-0 less than 2 minutes into the second quarter when he jumped a route and returned the interception 59 yards.
Davis, who halted Colby Cameron's NCAA record streak of 444 consecutive passes without an interception last week in an overtime victory over Louisiana Tech, has had an interception in five straight games. It was the Aggies' first interception for a touchdown since Devon Hall in 2007.
Farquhar supplied the Idaho offense and finished his career with a school-record 60 field goals.
Williams, a senior, didn't play the final series and finished 39 yards shy of the WAC career record for all-purpose yards.
Keeton started slowly but finished 17 of 25 for 133 yards, with two interceptions to go with his two TDs.
Davis finished with just 47 yards passing after being replaced in the second half.
Mike Bass led the Vandals with 95 yards rushing. He had 78 by halftime thanks to a 31-yard second-quarter run as the Vandals held a 142-90 edge in total yards but trailed 21-6.
The Aggies, who pulled off a 48-41 overtime win over Louisiana Tech to vault them into the AP poll for the first time since 1961, finished the regular season with a 131-6 scoring advantage in the first quarter.
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