Cooper Legas Deserves Another Start After Loss To BYU
PROVO, Utah – In spite of the final numbers, Cooper Legas looks capable of improving the fortunes of a Utah State offense that has struggled in 2022.
The Aggies (1-4, 0-1) saw their losing streak increase to four games as they fell to the No. 19 BYU Cougars (4-1) 38-26 at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Thursday, September 29.
Just hours before kickoff, reports that USU would be without graduate senior quarterback Logan Bonner due to a leg injury began to surface. When Bonner was seen in a walking boot as the team warmed up, those reports were confirmed.
Logan Bonner is in a boot during pre-game warmups.
There will be a new starting quarterback tonight for Utah State. #USUvsBYU #USU #BYU pic.twitter.com/wAk8hj3xf4
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) September 29, 2022
The week began with a reeling Aggie team hearing questions of whether a struggling Bonner could get the Aggie offense back on track. With Bonner out, those questions shifted. How different would a Utah State offense that had averaged 15.5 points per game be with junior Cooper Legas at the controls?
USU took the opening kickoff and Legas didn’t look phased by the 59,000 fans in Provo or intimidated by the Cougars Top-20 ranking.
Making the first start of his college career, Legas settled in nicely. Legas used his legs to cap a 12-play, 75-yard drive with a seven-yard scamper along the sideline and into the end zone. Legas added 20 yards through the air on the drive.
First-career rushing TD for @cooperlegas.#AggiesAllTheWay pic.twitter.com/lL5WZgQ5Qu
— USU Football (@USUFootball) September 30, 2022
Aside from an interception on the Aggies second drive of the game and a garbage time turnover late, Legas looked the part of a starting college quarterback. Albeit one that needs experience to develop.
Coming into Thursday night, Legas had seen action in two games this season; throwing for 40 yards and a pick on 7/17 passing. He had run for 20 yards on seven carries. During his college career, Legas has thrown for a total of 211 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions with a 48.6 completion percentage.
The junior finished 19-for-31 for 188 yards through the air and 19 carries for 52 rushing yards. He scored two touchdowns via the passing game and ran for another.
A bigger issue for the Aggies than Legas’ inexperience is Utah State’s apparent lack of big play threats at the skill positions. Through five games, Robert Briggs’ 23-yard rushing score in the season opener is the Aggies longest offensive scoring strike of the year. USU’s longest offensive play came on a 44-yard strike from Bonner to Brian Cobbs.
Junior wide receiver Terrell Vaughn has shown breakaway speed with a 100-yard kick return score against Weber State but has been unable to find consistent targets in the offense.
For Bonner, Legas, Levi Williams or any other quarterback on the Utah State roster to find real success, those skill position players have to create the windows that allow for big, game changing plays.
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— Mountain West (@MountainWest) September 30, 2022
Tyler Jr. finished with 104 yards on 18 carries and Cobbs showed an early connection with Legas as he reeled in ten catches for 96 yards and a pair of scores.
Sprinkle in a big play or two, and Utah State has the makings of an offense that could show marked improvement in the coming weeks.
Utah State (1-4, 0-1) return home to continue their Mountain West conference schedule as they welcome in the Air Force Falcons (3-1, 1-1). Kickoff for this game is scheduled for 5 pm (MST).
Every Utah State football game can be heard on the KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard and former Aggie quarterback Kevin White on the call.