Quick Hits: Utah State 48, No. 19 Louisiana Tech 41 (OT)
Chuckie Keeton threw for 340 yards, ran for 121 and scored four touchdowns to lead Utah State to a share of its first WAC title.
UTAH STATE WON: Utah State withstood another furious Louisiana Tech comeback, escaping Ruston, La., with a 48-41 overtime win and at least a share of the last WAC championship. Chuckie Keeton completed 20 of 34 passes for 340 yards and two touchdowns, adding 121 yards rushing and two more scores on the ground to lead the Aggies to their first conference title since winning a share of the Big West title in 1997 under John L. Smith.
WHY UTAH STATE WON: Utah State pounced on the Bulldogs, stunning the home crowd with a 17-3 halftime lead that extended to 27-3 in the third quarter. The hard-nosed Aggies defense not only stifled Louisiana Tech, but also snapped the NCAA-record of 445 pass attempts without an interception by Bulldogs quarterback Colby Cameron. But as they have done so many times this season, Louisiana Tech's offense got rolling and starting scoring points in bunches.
Kenneth Dixon finally scored the first Louisiana Tech touchdown of the game at the 8:17 mark in the third quarter. They started by exchanging touchdowns, but finally ran off four unanswered scores in the final 16 minutes of regulation -- finishing with a game-tying field goal from Matt Nelson to force overtime. The home crowd was rocking, the momentum had supposedly swung in their favor, and it looked like Louisiana Tech was going to pull off the comeback. But after setting the bar in the first possession of overtime, that tough Utah State defense stepped up to seal the game and a share of the WAC title.
WHEN UTAH STATE WON: Utah State running back Kerwynn Williams had a big day on the ground, leading the team with 162 yards rushing. But it was his second touchdown of the night that forced Louisiana Tech's hand in overtime. The Bulldogs got what they wanted -- third and short -- after a Kenneth Dixon run and short pass to Hunter Lee. But after a dropped pass, offensive coordinator Tony Franklin had to call a play to keep the game alive on fourth-and-3 from the 18-yard line. The Aggies swarmed the line of scrimmage and brought down Ray Holley short of the first down, ending the game and putting Utah State an Idaho win from an undefeated WAC season.
WHAT UTAH STATE WON: From the schools on the way out to the ones making their FBS debut, the WAC has been in a strange situation for the entire 2012 regular season. But despite all the off-field realignment issues, the on-field product has made for some memorable football. Utah State finally gets to claim a WAC title in the last season, creating a great launching point for fourth-year coach Gary Andersen as he leads the Aggies to the Mountain West in 2013.
WHAT LOUISIANA TECH LOST: With their only loss coming at the hands of Texas A&M, the Bulldogs had positioned themselves to possibly sneak into the BCS by virtue of a better finish than Nebraska or the Big East champion. Unfortunately, Saturday's loss has not only cost them a WAC title, but also their outside shot at a BCS bowl bid.
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