|Wagner's name and pic probably deserved solo recognition, but|
Brady has really come into his own, thus deserves the love.
Bobby Wagner and McKade Brady - Over the last three games this duo has finished one and two on the team in tackling twice. Wagner himself has combined for 40 total tackles over the past three games, 20 of which came against Louisiana Tech. Two sacks and an interception weren't exactly black eyes on the stat line either. Brady kept things a little more modest with only 19 tackles to go with a forced fumble and fumble recovery to go along with chipping in on a tackle for loss. Their play, and really the whole defense's, hasn't been too shabby when you consider how few favors the offense has done the defense in the time of possession department.
Robert Turbin - Chances are his name will regularly appear on this list, but even despite Dave Baldwin's most recent attempts (and staggering success) at sabotaging USU's offense, Turbin is still averaging 6.48 yards per carry over the last three games. Why he's not your guy on 3rd and one, well I'm not sure Dave himself could give a reasonable answer. And despite being underused in the passing game all year, Turbin is still tied for the team-lead in touchdown receptions (with Michael Smith... go figure). Really when you look at all the numbers, especially touchdowns in the last three games, Turbin is in a slump compared to the rest of the season... And he's still pretty much the best thing going.
The defensive line - Even though he never played, it seems like ever since Evan Huahulu left the team, the defensive line has seemed to completely disappear. Can't say if it's related, but it's a coincidence worth mentioning. They're averaging a total of one tackle for loss per game over the last two, to go with zero sacks. That is what we would often refer to as "not good." The lack of play was noticeable against both sets of Bulldogs the last couple games when opposing quarterbacks had about as much time as was convenient for them in the pocket. As great as the linebackers have been and with the defensive backs playing solid enough, the D-line has really taken sharp steps backward since the first few games of the season
Dave Baldwin - Need I say more?
The I don't knows:
Team confidence - The timing probably couldn't be worse for the team's confidence to bottom out after that La Tech loss. In theory, if things hit bottom, then the only place to go is up, but when probably the toughest test of the season is up next against Hawaii on the islands, things could go right back down very quickly. Tony Jones wrote touched on the confidence issue last week, and if the team can pull off a win in Hawaii, that would probably be the biggest confidence boost that they could get for the rest of this season. Lose on the island, and the pressure to become bowl eligible hits a peak that the team didn't want to face. Lose on the island, and the only two options are to win out the rest of the season to even be eligible, or let heartbreak win again and hope things change in 2012 (and by change, my wholehearted belief is that one less Dave Baldwin and Bill Busch would likely do the trick).