LOGAN -- USU's sustainability in the Mountain West Conference Mountain Division race came at a great cost.
In the Aggies' 13-0 win over Colorado State, USU starting cornerback Rashard Stewart was carried off the field on a stretcher to start the fourth quarter. Then star receiver Travis Reynolds was helped off the field minutes later, holding his right knee.
Both players are out indefinitely.
Despite the personnel setbacks, USU (7-4, 6-1 MW) recorded its first shutout since Oct. 25, 2003, a 49-0 victory over Arkansas State. CSU (6-6, 4-3) was eliminated from Mountain Division title contention, now two losses behind the Aggies and Boise State.
USU coach Matt Wells was impressed that his team managed the win in swirling winds from Logan Canyon. The Aggies kicked off against the winds at the start of each half.
"You can say we have had two ugly wins, but I thought the win was beautiful," Wells said in reference to USU's 28-24 win over UNLV. "You can't just go to Walmart pull off the shelf seven wins and six wins in the Mountain West."
Joey DeMartino rushed for 134 yards on a career-high 35 rushes, the most carries by any USU back since 2001. USU improved to 7-0 this season when it rushes at least 40 times per game.
CSU sophomore Kapri Bibbs gained 603 yards in the past two games but Saturday gained just 56 yards on 18 carries. Overall, the Rams gained just 38 yards on 34 rushes. Wells said the game ball was awarded to the entire defense.
DeMartino said he desired to "show who was the better back," having looked up Bibbs' 1,439 season yards before the game. But he said his main motivation was to impress Dave Baldwin, CSU's offensive coordinator who held the same position at USU from 2009-11, when Baldwin recruited DeMartino. The senior played only sparingly until this season, however.
"We exchanged words before the game," DeMartino said. "It was good motivation for me to play in front of him since I was his top recruit."
After hearing knocking on his dormitory window Thursday due to the winds, DeMartino's expectations changed.
"I knew I was going to carry the load a little bit today," he said. "Coach said all week the game would be won with the front seven."
The teams engaged in a low-scoring affair despite CSU and USU being ranked 26th and 27th in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 36.5 and 35.9 points per game, respectively.
With 191 total yards, the USU offense tallied only six more than CSU. But Jaron Bertrude had a career-high eight punts downed inside the 20-yard line, stifling favorable CSU drives all afternoon. Joe Hansley was the only Ram to even have a return attempt.
The Rams committed a turnover on downs on back-to-back possessions late in the fourth quarter.
With USU leading 10-0 early in the final stanza, Stewart found himself twisted under a pile of his own players at midfield. He lied motionless for 10 minutes as his teammates lined 20 yards apart on their knees. Zach Vigil said that teammates repeated the phrase "God bless you" as Stewart remained apoplectic on the stretcher.
One punt later, freshman Garretson (8-18, 43 yards) threw a bomb Reynolds' way near the goal line. After the incompletion, Reynolds writhed in pain, clutching his right knee before being helped off the field. With three 100-plus receiving yard outings in the past four games, Reynolds had emerged as a go-to option for Garretson.
Nick Vigil's diving interception early in the fourth quarter muffled the Rams' faint comeback effort, giving the Aggies possession at the CSU 29-yard line. Nick Diaz sent a bullet through the uprights 44 yards away to extend the final lead.
The Aggies reached double digits with an 11-play scoring drive carrying 69 yards, just six shy of their tally in the entire first half. DeMartino plunged into the end zone with 10:21 left in the third quarter.
USU was scoreless in the entire first half until Diaz nailed a 24-yard field goal 26 seconds before halftime. Diaz did what CSU kicker Jared Roberts couldn't, as he missed his attempt from the same distance with 8:51 left in the second quarter. It proved to be the Rams' only legitimate scoring opportunity.
USU did not score a first half touchdown for the first time in 19 games dating back to Oct. 5, 2011, when it lost 6-3 at BYU.
With 20,284 attendees, USU's string of three straight sellout games came to a close. The streak was first of its kind in the 46-year history of Romney Stadium.
Utah State 13, Colorado State 0
At Romney Stadium
Colorado State 0 0 0 0-- 0
Utah State 0 3 7 3--13
USU--Diaz 24 field goal, :26.
USU--DeMartino 1 run (Diaz kick), 10:21.
USU--Diaz 44 field goal, 9:59.
First downs 13 11
Rushes-yards 34-38 48-148
Passing 147 43
Comp-Att-Int 16-39-2 8-18-0
Return Yards (-1) 64
Punts-Avg. 8-38.0 9-37.9
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties-Yards 5-35 5-40
Time of Possession 29:29 30:31
Rushing--Colorado State, Bibbs 18-54, Morgan 1-7, Cartwright 1-4, Nwoke 7-1, E.Williams 2-(minus 2), Grayson 5-(minus 26). Utah State, DeMartino 35-127, Garretson 10-20, Natson 3-1.
Passing--Colorado State, Grayson 16-39-2-147. Utah State, Garretson 8-18-0-43.
Receiving--Colorado State, Gillmore 5-43, Higgins 4-20, Cartwright 3-45, Lovett 1-18, Vaden 1-10, Hansley 1-7, Bibbs 1-4. Utah State, Houston 2-26, Reynolds 2-14, DeMartino 2-9, Swindall 1-(minus 2), Natson 1-(minus 4).