RUSTON — Kerwynn Williams scored on a 4-yard touchdown run to give Utah State a lead in overtime, and the Aggies stopped No. 19 Louisiana Tech on four plays to win 48-41 on Saturday and clinch at least a share of the Western Athletic Conference championship.
Chuckie Keeton threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns, rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns for Utah State (9-2, 5-0), which let a 24-point, third-quarter lead slip away against one of the nation’s highest scoring teams.
The Aggies scored on their first offensive play — an 86-yard touchdown after a screen pass from Keeton to Williams — and racked up 646 yards of total offense.
Utah State jumped out to a 27-3 lead by early in the third quarter, but Louisiana Tech (9-2, 4-1) rallied to tie the game at 41 on Matt Nelson’s 32-yard field goal as time expired in regulation.
Louisiana Tech’s Colby Cameron threw an interception late in the second quarter, snapping his NCAA-record streak of 445 pass attempts without an interception.
Cameron completed 35 of 60 passes for 396 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Utah State improved its record to 2-50 against nationally-ranked teams, including a 1-39 mark on the road. The Aggies needs only to beat Idaho next week to win the conference championship.
Keeton, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound sophomore from Houston, made several big plays with his arm and his feet. The Aggies needed all of them.
Utah State took a 34-10 lead on Keeton’s 25-yard touchdown run with 5:20 remaining in the third quarter, but Louisiana Tech roared back to pull within 41-38 with 1:54 remaining after a 7-yard touchdown run by Hunter Lee.
Nelson’s field goal minutes later capped the stunning comeback, sending the game into overtime. But Louisiana Tech’s final drive fell short, with a fourth-and-3 run falling well short of the first down marker.
The Aggies led 14-0 at the end of the first quarter and had a 245-40 advantage in total yards. Utah State took a 17-3 lead into halftime. The Bulldogs had a chance to score a touchdown late in the second quarter, but Cameron’s pass was intercepted by USU’s Will Davis in the end zone.
Utah State struck again on the first drive after halftime. A big 43-yard pass from Keeton to Chuck Jacobs set up Keeton’s 13-yard touchdown run one play later, and the Aggies took a 24-3 lead, which was stretched to 27-3 minutes later after a 30-yard field goal.
Louisiana Tech’s offense finally woke up midway through the third quarter with an 11-play, 78-yard drive that ended with Kenneth Dixon’s 2-yard touchdown run and pulled the Bulldogs within 27-10.
Dixon finished with 113 rushing yards and two touchdowns.