Brown's 239 yards the only treat for Aggies in loss to Boise State
By Wade Denniston
It wasn't exactly the treat Utah State University was hoping for on Halloween Eve in its loss to Boise State University.
Despite a huge rushing day Saturday from senior running back Demario Brown, the Aggies lost a must-win game to the Broncos, 33-27, in front of only 12,214 fans at Romney Stadium, which seemed low considering how important the game was.
Brown rushed for a career-high 239 yards on 33 carries, including two touchdowns. Not only that, he recorded his first career 1,000-yard season and third 200-yard rushing game of his career.
"That guy's a darn good running back," Bronco head coach Dirk Koetter said. "We didn't think they could beat us throwing, but they almost beat us on the ground."
Aggie head coach Dave Arslanian agreed.
"He's a warrior," he said.
However, Brown wasn't enough for USU to win as it committed two key penalties, negating two scores.
The first miscue came on the Aggies' opening drive. Sophomore quarterback Jeff Crosbie found senior wide receiver Adrion Pierson in the left corner of the end zone for a 37-yard touchdown, but because of an illegal procedure, the points were taken off the board and USU ended up punting.
The second mistake came in the second quarter with under five minutes to play. Junior place-kicker Brad Bohn drilled a 47-yard field goal to cut BSU's lead to 13-10, but a false start took those points off as well.
Bohn ended up trying a 52-yard field goal, which was wide left, and the Aggies came away empty again.
Bohn also had a field goal blocked late in the first quarter.
The Broncos jumped out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter, and it appeared the Aggies were in for a long afternoon.
But a 17-yard touchdown pass from Crosbie to Pierson with 9:13 left in the first half brought USU back into the game. The touchdown was the Aggies' first in 11 quarters.
Two late field goals by freshman place-kicker Nick Calaycay gave BSU a 16-7 advantage heading into the break.
USU started the second half strong as it scored 27 seconds into the third quarter when senior right tackle Vaea Fiefia recovered a fumble by BSU junior quarterback Bart Hendricks in the end zone for a touchdown.
USU scored again with 8:13 left to in the third to take the lead on one of Brown's touchdowns from 5 yards out. The Aggies elected to go for a two-point conversion and failed, leaving the score at 20-16.
BSU came right back as Hendricks found sophomore wide receiver Brian O'Neal from 28 yards out for a 23-20 lead with 5:07 to go in the third. The Aggies retaliated with 50 seconds to play in the third when Brown ran it in from 1-yard out. The 27-23 margin would be the last lead USU would enjoy.
The Broncos took the lead for good in the fourth quarter when senior tailback Gavin Reed took a handoff and scampered 77 yards into the end zone. The extra point gave BSU a 30-27 lead with 7:54 to go in the game.
BSU added a 33-yard field goal by Calaycay to close out its scoring with 4:13 to go.
"I wanted to win this game so bad," Brown said. "I got tired at times, but the guys made me a spark in the huddle."
Brown led the Aggie offense with his performance, while Hendricks paced the Bronco offense by completing 22-of-41 passes for 292 yards and one touchdown. He also avoided many would-be USU sacks with his elusiveness to scramble.
"Their quarterback is really good," Fiefia said. "I give him a lot of praise."
Crosbie finished his afternoon by completing 13-of-22 passes for 118 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
"Right now we feel lousy, but we aren't going to get down," Arslanian said. "We have three games to play."
The loss more than likely drops USU out of the Big West Championship hunt as no team has ever won the conference with two losses.
However, league-leading University of Idaho was routed by New Mexico State University 42-14 on Saturday.
USU will now prepare to meet NMSU Saturday at Romney Stadium for its
last home game of the season. Kickoff is at 12:05 p.m.