Garretson sets records in USU win

Nov 2 2013 - 11:02pm

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 John Zsiray/The Associated Press
Utah State quarterback Darell Garretson looks to pass against Hawaii during their game Saturday in Logan.
 John Zsiray/The Associated Press
Utah State quarterback Darell Garretson looks to pass against Hawaii during their game Saturday in Logan.

LOGAN -- Chuckie who?

One game after throttling New Mexico 45-10, Utah State thrashed Hawaii 47-10 on Saturday in Mountain West Conference action at Romney Stadium.

Replacing star Chuckie Keeton -- who is out for the season -- for a third game, quarterback Darell Garretson went 28 of 41 for 370 yards. That count marked a record for a first-year Aggie signal-caller.

Garretson also became the first Aggie freshman signal-caller since 1985 to pass for 300-plus yards. USU (5-4, 4-1 MWC) remains tied with Boise State for first in the league's Mountain Division.

Before a crowd of 21,428, Garretson also had career-highs in completions and attempts. Joey DeMartino added 119 rushing yards on 20 carries.

"I am happy with his maturity and progress over the past three weeks," USU coach Matt Wells said of Garretson. "He made more audibles in our packages, dictated by us. He earned that with his performance throughout the game."

Garretson did make at least one mistake. Late in the third quarter, one pass went right into the arms of Warrior defensive lineman Tavita Woodard, who ran 27 yards to the USU 4-yard line.

But linebacker Kyler Fackrell accounted for the transgression just three plays later, returning a Sean Schroeder pass near the goal line for a touchdown. Fackrell's fourth career interception, the third-longest pick-six in USU history made it 40-10 when Hawaii could move moved within two or three scores.

"It was like a 300-pound weight completely came off my shoulders," Garretson said in his first allowance by USU media relations director Doug Hoffman to speak with media. "I was upset with myself."

"I didn't think I would make it," Fackrell said of the longest interception return of his career.

"Checkmate," Wells said. "We had changed the momentum."

Taylor Graham replaced Schroeder on the next drive, guiding a three-and-out, finishing 8-16 before getting replaced himself by freshman Ikaika Woolsey midway through the fourth period.

With USU leading by 37, Garretson yielded to junior Craig Harrison with 9:32 left in the game. The Aggies jumped to a 17-3 lead just 33 seconds into the second quarter. Garretson completed a 12-play, 80-yard drive 5:17 into the first stanza with an 11-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Bruce Natson, his first score of the season. Garretson responded to a 33-yard field goal from kicker Tyler Hadden with a 47-yard strike to senior Travis Van Leeuwen, setting up a 40-yard field goal from Nick Diaz.

Then DeMartino's four-yard run capped a 10-play, 88-yard drive.

Diaz made another field goal with 3:26 left in the third quarter before yielding to freshman Jake Thompson for a 52-yard attempt. Thompson, the younger brother of much-maligned kicker Josh Thompson, made USU's longest field goal of the season. Wells said it was welcomed after the Aggies had seen field goal attempts get blocked for three straight games.

Diaz added a 32-yard field goal with 9:51 left in the third quarter and Garretson connected with senior Travis Reynolds for a 30-yard touchdown 3:31 later.

Reynolds had eight receptions for 152 yards, the highest count since former NFL wideout Kevin Curtis in 2002. Reynolds extended his team-leading streak of catching at least one pass to 18 straight games, leading four receivers with at least five catches. Ronald Butler had a career-high in receptions (five).

Wells said his team's play so far without Keeton is a "testament to... the character of the program."

"It is a testament to our resiliency," he said. "It all goes back to character, the way we act and train. When you face some adversity, that's when you show your mettle."

The Aggies play at UNLV (5-4, 3-2) Saturday at 6 p.m.

* SUITE LIFE OF BRIAN: Junior safety Brian Suite, a Honolulu native, intercepted Schroeder with 13:23 left in the second quarter -- four plays after USU had jumped to a 17-3 lead. It came at the USU 6, halting another likely Hawaii score. Suite grew up a Warriors fan.

"That was huge for him," Wells said. "Him and (Maui native) Elvis (Kamana-Matagi) have been excited ever since the schedule came out."

Four Hawaii natives and 17 Polynesians are on USU's roster. Fifteen players among the two teams played on five of the same high schools, including 13 individuals among four high schools in Utah. Suite was teammates with Hawaii running back Steven Lakalaka at Punahou High School.

* FAST STARTS: USU has now led at the half in 20 of its last 24 games and has held 20 of its last 25 opponents without a first quarter touchdown.

Utah State 47, Hawaii 10

At Romney Stadium

Hawaii 3 0 7 0 -- 10

Utah St. 10 13 17 7 -- 47

First quarter

USU--Natson 11 pass from Garretson (Diaz kick), 9:43.

Hawaii--Hadden 33 field goal, 6:55.

USU--Diaz 40 field goal, 5:09.

Second quarter

USU--DeMartino 4 run (Diaz kick), 14:27.

USU--Diaz 32 field goal, 3:28.

USU--Ja.Thompson 52 field goal, :50.

Third quarter

Hawaii--Kirkwood 33 pass from Schroeder (Hadden kick), 13:17.

USU--Diaz 32 field goal, 9:51.

USU--Reynolds 30 pass from Garretson (Diaz kick), 6:20.

USU--Fackrell 99 interception return (Diaz kick), 1:41.

Fourth quarter

USU--Houston 44 pass from Garretson (Diaz kick), 10:29.

A--21,428.

Haw USU

First downs 15 28

Rushes-yards 25-59 44-163

Passing 260 370

Comp-Att-Int 22-44-3 28-42-1

Return yards 27 179

Punts-avg. 7-37.7 3-38.0

Fumbles-lost 0-0 0-0

Penalties-yards 5-66 4-35

Time of possession 20:46 39:14

Individual statistics

Rushing--Hawaii, Saint Juste 7-48, Lakalaka 12-36, Langkilde 1-1, Gant 1-(minus 1), Bowens 1-(minus 3), Schroeder 1-(minus 6), Graham 2-(minus 16). Utah State, DeMartino 20-104, Marshall 7-27, Garretson 6-22, K.Williams 6-11, Lee 2-4, Natson 2-0, Reynolds 1-(minus 5).

Passing--Hawaii, Schroeder 13-26-3-213, Graham 8-16-0-45, Woolsey 1-1-0-2, Evans 0-1-0-0. Utah State, Garretson 28-41-1-370, Harrison 0-1-0-0.

Receiving--Hawaii, Harding 8-68, Evans 3-18, King 2-49, Gant 2-48, Stutzmann 2-31, Kemp 2-7, Kirkwood 1-33, Lakalaka 1-4, Woolsey 1-2. Utah State, Reynolds 8-152, Natson 7-34, Van Leeuwen 5-78, Butler 5-59, Houston 1-44, Andersen 1-5, Marshall 1-(minus 2).

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