Aggie fans everywhere are stoked for the possibilities that could unfold from this season. Game days in Logan have been huge event with waves of blue and white filling Romney Stadium. The Aggies put together a strong season last year and expectations have grown. Students and alumni hope that this year will make the Aggies football program premier in the state, rather than the “little brother” to other schools in the state, namely Utah and BYU. This guide will review the previously played games from this season and give possible outlooks on what can be expected from the Utah State football team and their up and coming opponents.
Aggie football is off to a great start this year. They’ve had some amazing victories over Southern Utah University, rivals from Salt Lake, the Rams of Colorado State, and a difficult loss to a physical Wisconsin team. Picked to finish second in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) to last year’s champion Louisiana Tech, they’ve definitely proved that we are team to be reckoned with. Aggies look to go to another bowl game this year after breaking a long drought of bowl-less seasons last year.
Southern Utah vs. Utah State
Southern Utah from Cedar City came up to Logan and was severely over matched by the Aggies. The Aggie offense doubled the Thunderbirds in total yardage. Chuckie Keeton threw for over 300 yards and had two touchdown passes. Keep in mind that Southern Utah is in the Football Championship Division (FCS) which is a lower league to the league that Utah State is in. Utah State is a much stronger football team than SUU, that win came as no surprise.
Utah vs. Utah State
The best win of the season came over that team in Salt Lake. This was the first win over them in the last 12 attempts breaking a long losing streak. Keeton again had a very gutsy game that helped propel the Aggies to the win. Defensively USU played great holding them to a lousy 2 of 17 conversion rate on 3rd down. Games are won by defenses getting off the field on third down and giving the Aggie offense more opportunities with the ball. With a win over a Pac-12 school and ending a long winless streak against that rival should be a huge confidence booster going forward in the season.
Utah State vs. Wisconsin
The Aggies started off hot against the Badgers of Wisconsin by jumping out to an early lead. The Badgers were able to claw back into the game and eventually took the lead. USU had a chance to win the game on a last second field goal that never curved back between the goal posts. Tough loss for the Aggies but a postiive that can be taken away is the great play of the defense. The defense neutralized the Wisconsin offense holding them to 10 points, continued play like that will surly come from Anderson’s boys. A few things need to be tightened up with the special teams so the Aggies won’t have to worry about kicking woes and special teams giving up touchdowns, costing them the game.
Utah State vs. Colorado State
USU bounced back with a win over the Colorado State Rams who had won four straight against the Aggies. Going into halftime with a 17 nothing lead it looked like smooth sailing for the Aggies. That big lead going into halftime turned into a false sense of security as sloppy play plagued the Aggies in the second half. Three turnovers are never what you want to see when you are the stronger team. Colorado State never quit on the game putting up 19 second half points. The game was too far out of reach due to the strong start that the Aggies have in all their games so far.
UNLV vs. Utah State
Homecoming weekend turned into a big win for USU. Great offensive production from Keeton and Williams were the highlights of this game. UNLV had a 7 to 3 lead, but that didn’t last long as the offense made some big plays and the defense stifled the Running Rebels the entire game. The Aggies put together a nice game on both sides of the ball to get this win. Now with a record of 4-1 they just need two more wins to become bowl eligible.
Let’s take a look at the rest of the games that the Aggies have:
BYU, Record 3-2
Never know what’s going to happen in a rivalry game. Team Provo has wins against Washington State and Weber State. Their loss came in Salt Lake City to Utah, who USU had already beat. The Cougars were also defeated by the Broncos of Boise State. Riley Nelson was benched in that loss due to poor play and rumors of a bad back. Hawaii went to Provo and was flat out over matched. What remains to be seen is who will be running the offense on October 5th for the Cougars.
Two years ago the Aggies dominated in this match up, last year…was a heart breaker. It will be exciting to see if the Aggies can get revenge for that loss. Both defenses seem to be very formidable with both ranked in the top 20 of the nation. Don’t expect to see a lot of offense in this game. Turnovers and penalties will decide the winner. Down in Provo, the home team has the edge in most cases.
Prediction: 14-10, BYU
San Jose State, Record 4-1
San Jose State has one loss to a Stanford team that knocked off number two ranked USC, to top it off that loss was only by three points. Their two wins came by over 20 points in each contest. The third win came over San Diego State by scoring a touchdown in the last minute. The following week the Spartans shutout the Naval Academy 12-0 giving extending their winning streak to 4 games.
San Jose looks to be a strong team with a good offense. Ranked 20th in passing offense the Aggie Secondary will have their hands full. This will be the first real test for Aggie secondary, if they can hold their own and if the pass rush can get to David Fales (the Spartan’s quarterback) they should pull this one out. This should be a tough conference test for the Aggies.
Prediction: 27-21, USU
New Mexico State, Record 1-4
New Mexico State has one win. That was over an FCS team on opening day. Next two losses came to stronger teams and by a lot of points. UTEP and Ohio dismantled the “other” Aggies. Another loss to their rival the New Mexico Lobos hasn’t helped their season either. Things aren’t looking up as conference play starts against UTSA. The other aggies were hammered in their conference opener by over 20 points.
USU should have no problem in this match-up. Talent level definitely sides with the Aggies of Logan. Look for an offensive showcase from Keeton and Williams. The defense should have no problem containing NMSU’s offense. Utah State must not over look New Mexico State because anything can happen but chalk up another win for USU.
Prediction: 35-7, USU
University of Texas San Antonio, Record 5-0
UTSA is a new comer to the WAC and is undefeated in the early part of the season. These wins have come over some weaker competition. The only win the Road Runners have that came against the an FBS team was this past week against the New Mexico State Aggies. I doubt this team will go undefeated but a team that comes in a roll can be tough to beat.
This game will be unfamiliar territory for both teams. Since this is UTSA first year in the WAC it will be interesting to see how they fare against the Aggies. The Roadrunners strength is running the football; USU’s defense is great at stopping the run. Whoever can execute their strength will have the advantage and will win this game. The Aggie front seven should win the battle.
Prediction: 28-10 USU
Texas State, Record 2-2
Texas State is another new comer to the WAC. They’ve played four games a win over Houston who looks to be having a down year after a great season last year. A blowout loss to Texas Tech a member of the BIG-12, followed by a close win against Stephen F. Austin. Former WAC team Nevada took down Texas State by double digits this past week leaving their record at two wins and two losses.
Texas State has only played three games and has given up huge amounts of yardage and a lot of points in those games. Their defense looks really shaky so the Aggie offense should be able to exploit it for a big day. The Aggie backfield could have well over 200 yards on the ground in this game. As long as the O-line opens hole the Aggies should have another win.
Prediction: 42-9, USU
Louisiana Tech, Record 4-0
La Tech had its first game postponed against Texas A&M but has won three straight. Wins over Houston, Rice, Illinois and Virginia have been high scoring affairs. This team is averaging over 50 points a game, which is very impressive. Tech was picked to finish first in the WAC and this game in November will most likely be for the WAC conference title.
Tech’s offense is the third highest scoring offense in the country. On the flip side their defense has more holes than a noodle strainer. Look for this to be a shootout in Louisiana. If you like seeing touchdowns there should be no shortage in this game. The Aggie D however should slow down the Bulldogs just enough to get the win.
Prediction: 35-34, USU
Idaho, Record 0-5
The Vandals have had a rough start to the season. Losses against Eastern Washington, Bowling Green, and a highly superior LSU team have been what the Vandals have had to face. The closest loss came to Wyoming, a three point loss in overtime. The loss to Wyoming was followed by a 66 to nothing loss at the hands of North Carolina. Idaho would love to beat Utah State in both team’s season finale.
Idaho is over matched by the Aggies in all aspects of this game. The Vandals should come out fighting; the game will probably be close for the first two quarters. Eventually though, the Aggies talent and speed should open the game up for a big win.
Prediction: 31-6, USU.
Aggie football should have some exciting games to add to the already exciting games. I’m picking the Aggies to win the WAC conference title and will most likely finish the season 10-2, with a loss to Wisconsin and a tossup loss to the rivals in Provo. A ten win season and a another bowl berth will be exciting for Aggie nation and will lead to greater momentum going into next year.