Friday Night, the Utah State Aggies helped kick off #BowlSzn with a performance against the Kent State Golden Flashes in the Frisco Bowl. The Mountain West conference had been largely more competitive than the Mid-American this season, and Utah State entered the game as favorites. The intrigue to the game surrounded Utah State quarterback and NFL prospect Jordan Love, who would be playing his last collegiate NFL game. Love declared for the NFL Draft over a week prior to the bowl game amid the speculation and opinions surrounding his need to return to school for another season.
Love played well, but the story of the game quickly shifted from Love to Kent State quarterback Dustin Crum. The ESPN broadcast ran a comparison of Crum to Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields. The two quarterbacks were the only players in college with TD-INT ratio’s this season better than 9-1. Personally, I scoffed at the comparison.
Dustin Crum ➡️ Isaiah McKoy pic.twitter.com/kaf87Skbra
— Sports Daily (@SportsDGI) December 21, 2019
Crum started the game with this eye-popping throw. From that point on, Crum had my attention. He would end the game completing 21 of his 26 passes for 289 yards and 2 touchdowns. At the same time, he led the team in rushing with 147 yards on the ground and scored another touchdown. Kent State would go on to win their first bowl game in school history, defeating the Utah State Aggies, 51-41.
What does this mean for Jordan Love?
I wrote about Jordan Love last week, a featured opinion on why it was smart for him to declare early. Nothing has changed in that regard. This was still the smartest decision that Love could have made, especially considering the fact that this quarterback class next season is becoming more stacked by the day (Dustin Crum, looking at you bud).
Love didn’t have a bad day himself, completing 30 of his 39 throws for 317 yards and 3 touchdowns, alongside an interception that his receiver deflected into the hands of a defensive back. However, the playcalling was very conservative, almost protecting Love. It wasn’t impressive, especially with Crum on the other side oozing talent with every passing moment.
So what does this mean for Love?
Really, not very much. The pinnacles of the problems that Utah State has dealt with all season, the problems in the program, and the coaching staff were all on display last night. The conservative playcalling, the lack of talent around Love, and the lack of defense were crystal clear. The offense has been in a constant shift all season, moving players around and trying to find the right line-up. The Aggies were playing several receivers last season who didn’t normally start. Love’s downfield chemistry was not present through most of the game as a result.
It’s amazing how many coaches ruin the talent that is around them with incompetent coaching. It appears as Gary Anderson is doing that to Jordan Love, another reason why Love needs to leave for this NFL Draft cycle.
What did we see that was good?
Love showed off his arm talent with a bunch of good throws last night, several of them not completed. Because of the lack of work with the group of receivers on the field, Love’s chemistry downfield was non-existent in the first half. As the team settled in, Love seemed much more comfortable.
Jordan Love is ripping some lasers tonight. pic.twitter.com/B2U1baRRmt
— Rob Paul (@RobPaulNFL) December 21, 2019
Love showed us the window throws that we like to see, as well as the arm strength to get the ball there. His timing was good as well, as a lot of the throws he made last night were quick timing routes.
— Locked On Colts Podcast (@LockedOnColts) December 21, 2019
No one doubts the arm talent of Love. Many people, however, worry about his decision-making. Kent State isn’t certainly by any stretch a respectable defense, but Love was smart with the football. He made some really great throws and overall had a good night.
NFL teams aren’t going to overlook this performance. While it didn’t pop off of the screen, Love was solid and NFL teams wanted to see that. Overall, a good night for the quarterback will give him some momentum as he heads to Mobile next month to perform in the Senior Bowl.