Jan. 6, 2011
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State Director of Athletics Scott Barnes has announced USU's 2011 football non-conference schedule, which will give the Aggies six home games for the second-straight season. It marks the first time since 1995-96 that USU have had consecutive schedules with six home games.
Utah State will play road games at Auburn and Brigham Young, while hosting Weber State, Colorado State and Wyoming. The Aggies will also have four Western Athletic Conference games on the road while hosting three conference contests, giving USU six home games.
The foundation of Barnes' scheduling plan is to continue to play a minimum of six home games each year and establish a more balanced approach, much like USU did in 2010.
The 2010 season was just the third time in the past 14 seasons that the Aggies played six home games, also doing so in 2008 and 1998, although six were scheduled in 2005, but the season-opener vs. Nicholls State was cancelled due to Hurricane Katrina. In USU's 116 seasons of football, the Aggies have had seven home games on the slate a total of only seven times: 2010, 2008, 1998, 1996, 1995, 1978, 1952.
"It is extremely difficult to establish momentum, build consistency in our program, and grow your fan base when you play the kind of schedule we have. Last year was a good example of what we will strive to match," Barnes said in reference to the 2010 ledger which had six home games, and did not include back-to-back road games. It was only the third time in the last 100 years that USU did not have consecutive road games, joining the 1920 and 2005 ledgers.
"With five non-conference opportunities we want to create a schedule that is both exciting for our fans and has better balance," Barnes said.
The 2011 non-conference schedule has Utah State playing at Auburn on Saturday, Sept. 3, as the Aggies will tangle with the Tigers for the first time ever and be USU's first Southeastern Conference opponent since Arkansas in 2006. Auburn is currently ranked No. 1 in the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) standings and faces No. 2 Oregon in the BCS National Championship game on Monday, Jan. 10.
"Playing the possible defending national champions in the first game will be a great opportunity for us and we're excited to face an SEC team," USU head coach Gary Andersen said.
Weber State will make the trek north to Logan on Saturday, Sept. 10, marking the first time that USU and WSU have squared off since 2001.
"Playing an in-state school is always exciting for the fans and the communities of both programs," Andersen said.
The Aggie-Wildcat match-up will have special meaning for Andersen, who will be facing his mentor, Weber State head coach Ron McBride. Andersen played for McBride at Utah in 1985-86.
"Anytime you line up and face one of your mentors its an exciting opportunity and a tremendous challenge," Andersen said.
The Aggies will open a home-and-home series with Colorado State on Saturday, Sept. 24, locking horns with the Rams for the first time since 1997.
On Friday, Sept. 30, USU will play at BYU, with the Old Wagon Wheel at stake, after the Aggies' claimed the traveling trophy with a 31-16 win in 2010, USU's first win over BYU since 1993. Utah State will wrap up non-conference action by hosting Wyoming on Saturday, Oct. 8, as the Aggies will be tangling with the Cowboys for the first time since 2007, and the Cowboys' first visit to Logan since 2003.
"Having two Mountain West Conference teams come to Romney Stadium is a big positive for us," Andersen said. "We're excited to continue the series with BYU and with it being a Friday night, hopefully we'll have national exposure again like last year with it being nationally-televised on ESPN.
USU will have home WAC games against San Jose State, Louisiana Tech and Nevada, while traveling to conference foes Fresno State, Idaho, New Mexico State and Hawai'i. The 2011 season is the final season in the WAC for Nevada, Fresno State and Hawai'i.
Utah State's 2011 schedule will be completed with the WAC schedule, expected in mid to late March, released by the conference office.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on the USU football blog at usufootball.wordpress.com. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
UTAH STATE FOOTBALL 2011 NON-CONFERENCE SCHEDULE
DATE OPPONENT SERIES HISTORY, STREAK Sept. 3 at Auburn First meeting Sept. 10 Weber State USU leads 11-1, USU won five in a row Sept. 24 Colorado State CSU leads 35-30-2, CSU won three in a row Sept. 30 at BYU BYU leads 43-34-3, USU won one Oct. 8 Wyoming USU leads 34-24-4, UW won four in a row
** Dates subject to change
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