USU football: Myers or Hobbs starting against UNM?

November 8, 2016

One of the biggest questions heading into the Aggies’ final home football game of the season is who will be the starting quarterback.

Utah State welcomes New Mexico to Maverik Stadium on Saturday night. Opening kickoff for the Aggies’ Senior Night is scheduled for 8:15 p.m.

Kent Myers has been USU’s starting signal caller all season long, but was injured with less than six minutes remaining in the third quarter during last Saturday’s 52-28 loss at red-hot Wyoming. The junior was laid out by Wyoming linebacker Tim Kamana while attempting a pass and did not return to the game.

Damion Hobbs was USU’s QB the remainder of the contest and ended up completing 7 of 16 passes for 68 yards and an interception. The Oregon transfer also gained 24 yards on six rushing attempts and had rushing touchdowns of 1, 2 and 10 yards. The Aggies trailed 35-21 when Myers exited the game for good.

“Well, I think the biggest thing is finding out if Kent’s healthy, and I’ll know a little bit more after this afternoon,” USU head coach Matt Wells said during Monday’s press conference. “And I think he is (healthy), but when a guy goes out in a game and it’s day to day, then that’s about all I’ll say for it for right now. So, I’ll know more after talking to the doctors this afternoon.”

How did Wells feel Hobbs fared during the first extended playing time of his Aggie career?

“He did some good things and he did some things that we’re not coaching the quarterback to do,” Wells said. “He did both, but he did some nice things running the ball. We dropped a couple of passes for him and he missed a couple of throws. There was a little bit of everything, but he did a nice job coming in. ... I wish we would have made a couple of catches for him, but he missed a couple of throws that could have been really good.”

Indeed, Hobbs and Myers underthrew a couple of teammates who had created some clear separation from the Wyoming secondary. Wide receiver Alex Byers was in a good position to haul in a pair of 40-plus-yard receptions, but the ball was underthrown on both occasions.

Additionally, the Aggies were unable to come up with a few contested catches and dropped a couple of balls that could have changed the complexion of the game.

Myers wasn’t the only Aggie who left the contest with an injury and did not return. Running back Devante Mays was helped off the field after a 7-yard carry to the Cowboy 1-yard line with 11 minutes remaining in the second quarter.

Additionally, linebackers Alex Huerta and Mason Tobeck, and cornerback Wesley Bailey were banged up against Wyoming. Jalen Davis, who is arguably one of the Mountain West’s top corners, missed the game after suffering an injury the previous week against San Diego State.

“It’s not just him, but it’s frustrating for a lot of these kids who have put a lot of heart and soul into the offseason and getting themselves ready to play,” Wells said when asked about the emotional well-being of Mays after a season marred by injuries. “When you’re hurt and banged up, and you still try to rehab and come back and you’re not able to be your old self, it’s hard. It’s an emotional deal and it’s frustrating for each and every one of these kids.

“But, that’s sports, and it doesn’t matter what sport it is. If you’re a competitive guy playing one of these team sports and it’s a collision sport, you’re going to get banged up and you’re going to be hurt, especially at this time of year.”

Rare afternoon game

For only the second time this season the Aggies will play in the afternoon. It was announced Monday that USU’s road tilt against Nevada next Saturday will start at 2 p.m. The game will be streamed live on ESPN3.

On Sunday, USU found out its home finale will be broadcast on ESPN2. The Aggies and Cowboys each received $500,000 for having last Saturday’s game broadcast on ESPN2.

Name dropping

Wells singled out center Austin Stephens, cornerbacks Daniel Gray and Bailey, safety Dallin Leavitt and running back LaJuan Hunt for their play against the Cowboys.

The former USU signal caller was pleased with how well Gray and Bailey battled Wyoming’s blockers in rushes to the perimeter. Gray also made two huge defensive plays in passing situations. The senior intercepted a pass by Wyoming standout QB Josh Allen on essentially a jump-ball situation and broke up a third down pass at the goal line late in the third quarter.

Said Wells of Stephens: “The last month, four or five weeks in a row, he’s played very, very well.”

Locals vs. Wyoming

Safety Gaje Ferguson (Mountain Crest) made an impact in his first career start as he racked up a career-high 10 tackles, which was second on the team and more than any Wyoming player. Linebackers Huerta (Mountain Crest) and Derek Larsen (Logan) combined for five tackles off the bench — four by Huerta.

Brock Warren (Sky View) made all four of his extra points, and DJ Nelson (Logan) was the holder on all of them. Three of Jake Thompson’s (Logan) five kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. Fellow Logan products Chad Artist and Jacoby Wildman saw playing time, but didn’t record any statistics.

MW honors

Wyoming’s Allen was selected as the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week for his stellar performance against USU. The sophomore threw for 261 yards and a career-high four TDs, and rushed for 66 yards on nine attempts. On a handful of occasions, Allen avoided would-be tacklers and made huge plays.

A Cowboy was also named the conference’s Defensive POTW. Freshman linebacker Logan Wilson had five solo tackles, an INT and a fumble recovery against the Aggies. Both of Wilson’s takeaways resulted in touchdowns.

New Mexico punter Corey Bojorquez was tabbed the MW’s Special Teams POTW after averaging 52.8 yards on four punts in his team’s 35-26 home win over Nevada. The junior booted a 66-yarder that was downed at the Nevada with 1:04 remaining in the tilt.