FRESNO, Calif. — Senior placekicker Dominik Eberle kicked three field goals, including the game-winner from 30 yards out as time expired, to lift Utah State to a thrilling 37-35 victory over Fresno State on Saturday night at Bulldog Stadium.
It marked the first time since 1998 that Utah State kicked a field goal to win the game. That year, Brad Bohn kicked a 30-yarder with five seconds left as the Aggies edged North Texas, 28-27.
Eberle also connected on field goals of 39 and 25 yards, respectively, as Utah State (5-4, 4-1 Mountain West) scored the final six points of the game on Saturday. With his trifecta against the Bulldogs (4-5, 2-3 MW), Eberle tied the conference record for most career field goals at 57.
Down 35-34, Utah State drove to the Fresno State 2-yard line, where the Aggies were stuffed on four consecutive running plays and turned the ball over on downs with 5:19 to go.
However, the defense got the ball back for Utah State when the Aggies forced Fresno State to go three-and-out. Utah State took over on its own 47-yard line with 3:05 left and all the momentum on its side.
Junior quarterback Jordan Love drove the Aggies to the Fresno State 10-yard line. Two plays later, Eberle connected on the game-winner following a perfect snap and hold from junior long snapper Brandon Pada and redshirt senior holder Aaron Dalton, respectively.
Love, who grew up less than two hours away from Bulldog Stadium, passed for 388 yards and two touchdowns – both to graduate transfer wide receiver Siaosi Mariner – as Utah State snapped a two-game losing streak.
Mariner led all receivers in the game with 11 catches for 203 yards, while graduate transfer tight end Caleb Repp added five receptions for 75 yards. Senior running back Gerold Bright rushed for 79 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries. Junior running back Jaylen Warren also had a touchdown run of his own as he carried the ball 12 times for 30 yards.
Junior safeties Troy Lefeged Jr. and Shaq Bond had seven and six tackles, respectively, for the Aggies.
Fresno State quarterback Jorge Reyna was 16-of-20 for 263 yards. Running back Ronnie Rivers led all rushers with 17 carries for 102 yards and three touchdowns,
Utah State took its first lead just before the end of the first half when Mariner caught his second touchdown pass of the night, an 8-yarder from Love on third-and-goal, to make it 21-14. Junior wide receiver Jordan Nathan helped set the score up when he hauled in a 36-yard pass from Love in traffic down the middle.
Mariner also caught a 15-yard touchdown pass from Love with 7:59 to go in the score to square the game up at 14-apiece.
Utah State’s other touchdown of the first half came courtesy of Bright’s 21-yard run to tie the game at 7-all late in the first quarter.
Rivers accounted for both of the Bulldogs’ touchdowns during the first 30 minutes of play, one on a 10-yard run and the other from 2 yards out.
The Aggies opened their largest lead of the night at 28-14 after taking the second-half kickoff and marching 60 yards on eight plays, capped by Warren’s 6-yard touchdown run.
Eberle’s first field goal of the night gave the Aggies a 31-21 lead with 5:16 left in the third quarter. The Bulldogs moved back in front following touchdown runs by Rivers and Jalen Cropper, making it 35-31 with 14:11 remaining in the fourth.
Utah State will return home for its next two MW games, beginning with Mountain Division-foe Wyoming on Saturday, Nov. 16, on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium. The game, which will be televised nationally on ESPNU, will kick off at 2 p.m.
For Aggie football ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the “Buy Tickets” tab at http://www.UtahStateAggies.com.
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