Utah State weathers Louisiana Tech rally for OT win

Associated Press photo by Kita WrightLouisiana Tech wide receiver R.P. Stuart stretches for extra yardage during the first half of the Bulldgos' 48-41 overtime loss to Utah State on Saturday in Ruston.
Associated Press photo by Kita WrightLouisiana Tech wide receiver R.P. Stuart stretches for extra yardage during the first half of the Bulldgos' 48-41 overtime loss to Utah State on Saturday in Ruston.

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.