|With this 12-yard run on 3rd down, Adam Kennedy brought|
USU to bowl eligibility for the first time in 14 years.
Then something happened... Something happened with this team to which their play since that fateful halftime could only be described as epic. Something happened that changed this team from the kind of team that couldn't win and let 4th quarter leads slip away, into a team that couldn't lose and was automatic with the game on the line in the 4th quarter.
Today, that change culminated in accomplishing a goal that this team has expected of themselves for each of the past three seasons. Despite every "what if" and every heartbreak from earlier this season that led to both doubts and rallying cries for fans to stick behind this team, the players and coaches never gave up. When this team looked dead in the water against Hawaii, they stepped up and showed that the were going to die hard, and the end result was one of the most thrilling wins in USU history. Then when San Jose State had a two-score lead for the majority of the game, this team showed again that they weren't going to go down easy. And when Idaho pushed the Aggies to overtime in Moscow, USU showed again that they'd die hard with a vengeance.
Well yippie ki yay mother******... The Aggies are going bowling!!!
Today held just as many thrills as every game has this November, but today was the day things could be clinched. And as difficult as Nevada made it, this team found a way to hold on yet again. This time, it was the defense coming up with the big play late in the 4th quarter. With Nevada trailing 21-17 and just more than five minutes left in the game, the Wolf Pack were driving and in the red zone. Then a pair of senior leaders on the defense paired up to force the biggest turnover in a generation when Quinn Garner forced a fumble and on the last play in his last home game at Romney Stadium, Bobby Wagner recovered that fumble to thwart that Nevada scoring chance.
Then Kerwynn Williams, Robert Turbin and Adam Kennedy took over the rest of the game on the ground, making that thwarted opportunity by Nevada their last chance they'd get. And even when it looked like Nevada might get one more chance at ripping out Aggie fans' hearts, the offense took the field for 4th-and-1 from their own 44-yard line and put fate into the surest hands that this team has. From there, Robert Turbin essentially cemented the bowl eligibility, gaining a four yards for a first down. When Adam Kennedy took a 3rd-and-10 play for the final first down, it was official, and Nevada's chances for even a miracle final play were erased, and along with it 14 years of absence for the Aggies in a bowl game.
For me, it almost doesn't feel totally real yet. From my freshman year in 2006 all the way through my senior year in 2010, almost every game in both October and November was essentially meaningless. The hope was dead.
This year when November rolled around, things didn't look a whole lot different. Now, just weeks later this November has turned out to be the most memorable stretch of Utah State football in years, and for many of us, in a lifetime.
Now, this season is no longer hope, it's accomplishment. Even though a WAC championship will have to wait until next year, one major goal has been reached. One trophy is still up for grabs now for Utah State.
Player of the Game: Bobby Wagner