Utah State vs. Arkansas State prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the game between the Aggies and Red Wolves.
Utah State vs. Arkansas State Game Preview
When: Friday, September 16 – 9:00 p.m. ET
Where: Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium, Logan, Utah
TV Broadcast: CBSS
In Week 1, Utah State put up 45 points on Weber State. A week later, it was the Aggies who surrendered it. Utah State fell to USC this past weekend, 45-7. The Trojans struck early when quarterback Max Browne hit wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for a 3-yard touchdown pass to cap a three-play, 50-yard drive. The Aggies didn’t get on the board until the third quarter when quarterback Kent Myers delivered a 6-yard pass to Wyatt Houston for Utah State’s only touchdown.
As for the Red Wolves, their first game of the season ended in a 31-10 loss to Toledo, and their second one wasn’t much better. Arkansas State ran into Auburn and it ended with a 51-14 rout of the Red Wolves. But now it will be back on the road in Logan, Utah to take on the Aggies on their home field.
What To Know About Utah State
Matt Wells’ team certainly needed more production from its ground game than it got against USC. After he lit up Weber State in Week 1, running back Devante Mays saw only eight carries for 24 yards. His longest run went for seven yards. Of course, the Aggies were playing from behind the entire game, and that’s a big reason why Myers was forced to let the ball fly 37 times. He completed 25 of those pass attempts but was picked off once to match his lone touchdown throw. Three of Utah State’s first four drives ended in punts. Its second drive ended with a missed field goal while the fifth drive was Myers’ interception.
Defensively, the Trojans simply outmatched the Aggies. Utah State allowed 422 yards of total offense on 81 plays. Redshirt junior Dallin Leavitt led the team with 15 total tackles. But the next three leading tacklers all finished with seven total tackles each. Sophomore free safety Jontrell Rocquemore came up big with an interception in the second quarter. If he can continue to be a ballhawk for Utah State, he’ll grow as someone for opposing teams to mold their game plans around.
What to Know About Arkansas State
The Red Wolves depended on quarterback Chad Voytik in their loss to Auburn, but he could only do so much. He completed 15-of-21 passes for 215 yards but was sacked four times on the night. He was able to make things happen with his legs, though. Voytik ran 13 times and crossed the plane into the end zone twice despite only having 12 rushing yards. Running back Warren Wand took 13 carries for 37 yards.
The Arkansas State defense had its hands full, too. A seven-point deficit at the end of the first quarter quickly grew, and the Red Wolves were trailing, 38-7, by halftime. Arkansas State managed only three quarterback hits, and its lone sack was recorded by defensive end Ja’Von Rolland-Jones. But it was senior linebacker Xavier Woodson-Luster who led the team with 10 total tackles.
Offense: Utah State. Myers was forced into a situation where he had to air it out, but he’s still very creative with his legs. He and Mays are a solid one-two punch that Arkansas State can’t match.
Defense: Utah State. Leavitt and Leki Uasike are tackling machines, and they lead the charge for Utah State’s linebacker corps. The Aggies also do a better job of getting penetration in the backfield.
Special Teams: Utah State. Both Brock Warren and Sawyer Williams took a field goal attempt last weekend, and both missed. So, the edge here goes to Utah State because Andrew Rodriguez has “punt return for a touchdown” written all over him.
Coaching: Utah State. Nothing against Blake Anderson. He’s a quality head coach with plenty of FBS experience, but Matt Wells, now in his fourth season, has done a lot at his alma mater. He’s the first Utah State coach to lead the team to three straight bowl berths and the only Aggies coach to win back-to-back bowl games. They’re 16-2 at home under Wells and haven’t lost in Logan since Oct. 12, 2013, versus Boise State.
Matchup To Watch
Utah State linebackers vs. Chad Voytik
Leavitt and Uasike are going to lead the way, but they’ll need to put a spy on Voytik, especially if the Red Wolves get into the red zone because he can make the Aggies pay. If the Utah State linebackers stuff the run and help contain Voytik, they might be able to force him into some risky throws.
Utah State vs. Arkansas State Betting Odds
Spread: Utah State -9
Utah State vs. Arkansas State Prediction
Mays is going to come into this game heated over his lack of production last week. He’ll be hungry and ready to attack from the start. He’ll break away for a long run at some point and continuously gash the Arkansas State defense. He’ll have two touchdowns by halftime.
Myers and Voytik will both depend on their abilities to run with the rock, but Arkansas State will find itself down in the second half, and Voytik will be forced to air it out. Utah State will pick him off and put the game on ice by giving it back to Mays and Lajuan Hunt to pound the rock.
Utah State vs. Arkansas State Score Prediction: Utah State 37, Arkansas State 23