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San Jose, Calif • David Fales is good enough to scorch a secondary with his strong arm and uncanny accuracy. In the words of Utah State defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, Fales can throw receivers open.
So pressure on the San Jose State quarterback became a huge priority. But even Aranda couldn't predict how successful his defense would be in Saturday's 49-27 win over the Spartans.
Utah State collected a school-record 13 sacks. The Aggies had 14 sacks on the entire season before Saturday. That's how dominant the pass-rush was. That's how much USU beat Fales up in the pocket.
"I've never been a part of a game like that," Aranda said. "The line did a great job of rushing. The kids were winning one-on-one battles all night. Fales is so good back there that we couldn't let him get comfortable. We had to get in his face."
Fales still went 38-of-50 for 467 yards and three touchdowns. That says a lot about his talent level. But he paid for it dearly.
A quartet of Utah State players Kyler Fackrell, Connor Williams, Nevin Lawson and Jordan Nielsen each had two sacks. Fackrell forced a fumble, which the freshman linebacker recovered. Nine different USU players in all got to Fales.
Zach Vigil set the tone early, sacking Fales on the first play of the game. And the pressure became more pronounced as the game progressed and the Aggies started getting into the backfield without having to blitz.
Utah State came two sacks within TCU's NCAA record of 15. Five of those sacks came from the Aggie defensive line that was such a concern entering the season.
"We just wanted to come in and do our part," Fackrell said. "We knew they had an explosive offense, and we didn't want them to get too comfortable out there. We thought we could make some plays, and that's what we were able to do."
Utah State's defense
• Nine Utah State players recorded sacks, and their total was only two sacks off the NCAA record.
• The Aggies nearly doubled their sack total for the season.