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Previewing the Utah State Defense

Defense wins championships, right?

NCAA Football: Utah State at Wisconsin Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

At a glance, the Utah State Aggies defense is... meh? While it’s hard to say that they’re really good after losing 59-10 to the number 9 team in Wisconsin, I can’t call them awful after only giving up 13 points in the next game. So.. trending meh?

The Aggies rank 82nd in total yards given up at 781, 69th(nice) in passing yards allowed per game(217) and T92nd in rushing yards allowed per game(173.5). Overall they are 111th in points per game, but that’s a bit inflated through two games since they lost 59-10 to Wisconsin in week one.

Looking more into some advanced/adjust stats, the Aggies rank 71st in S&P defensively. They do very poorly at stopping opponents so far once a team enters their side of the field, allowing 6.00 points per possession inside their 40 yard line.

They do not do a good job of causing havoc, ranking well below the overall havoc rate of 17% of plays (at just 9.5%), and do especially poorly of winning the line of scrimmage with their defensive line.

I don’t want to jump to conclusions and say that this is where the numbers will be fixated, because when you lose by 7 touchdowns to a top 10 team it can skew the numbers, or if you play a not so great team you get skewing the opposite way. Well Utah State’s schedule happens to have just played out that way

Utah State is led by Junior Linebackers Chase Christiansen(14 total tackles) and Suli Tamaivena(13 total tackles). Utah State has come in to the season with problems stopping the run(hello Cade) and have even gone on the record by saying that they need to do better defending the run and are trying to create turnovers.

Jalen Davis has both of Utah State’s interceptions on the year, and they have not forced any fumbles at all.

While Wake Forest is fourth in the nation in turnover margin at +4, Utah State is -2 through two games, good enough for 93rd in the nation.

As basic as this seems, if Wake can control the line of scrimmage and not let the defensive line wreak havoc on Wolford and help give our running backs some lanes to exploit a very obvious weakness of this team if they want to go 3-0 to start the season.