April 1, 2009
LOGAN, Utah -
A nationally televised home game on ESPN2 highlights Utah State's 2009 football schedule, which was announced Wednesday with the completion of the Western Athletic Conference slate. The Aggies' ledger also includes five home games, including in-state foe Southern Utah on the docket for the first time since 2000.
USU is scheduled to host Boise State on Friday, Nov. 20 at 7:30 p.m. (MT) in a nationally televised game on ESPN2, marking the first time Utah State has hosted ESPN. The last time the Aggies were on the worldwide sports entertainment network was the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl game in Boise, Idaho, as that game was televised on ESPN2.
"It is our plan to bring more balance to our non-conference schedule and we will be able to do that beginning in 2010," said USU Athletics Director Scott Barnes. "Having the Boise State game televised on ESPN2 is a good opportunity for 2009 and helps us build into the future. This is the first time in our football program's history that we have had ESPN broadcast nationally from Logan. It will allow us to better acquaint the ESPN network with coach Gary Andersen and our football program, as well as showcasing our new facilities, our campus and the Logan community on a national stage"
The Boise State battle is one of Utah State's three nationally televised games announced so far, as both of the Aggies' games at Utah and BYU will be on The Mtn.
In addition to the 11 Western Athletic Conference games already scheduled with ESPN, a minimum of six more will be scheduled on ESPNU and up to five more could be broadcast by ERT (ESPN Regional Television). All ESPNU and ERT productions will be Saturday games in 2009.
Utah State, which plays four of its first five games away from home, will play a 12-game schedule for the fourth year in a row and the seventh time in the program's history.
Under the new leadership of first-year head coach Gary Andersen, Utah State will open the 2009 season against Andersen's former team, Utah, when the Aggies and Utes clash on Thursday, Sept. 3 at 7 p.m. in Salt Lake City.
"The only thing I'm really worried about right now is our first game, and that just happens to be the Utah game on Sept. 3," Andersen said. "We'll have our work cut out for us there, but we've known that's going to be there on the schedule for a long time. Overall, the schedule has a good mix of being on the road for a couple weeks, then home for a couple weeks in an alternating pattern."
The Utah game and the Aggies' home opener against Southern Utah both have special connections with Andersen, as he spent the previous five seasons as the assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Utah. Overall, Andersen spent 11 seasons as an assistant at Utah after coaching for the Utes from 1997-2002 and has been there since 2004. The lone season in between, 2003, Andersen was head coach at Southern Utah.
"There's a little something extra with both of those games," Andersen said. "The Utah game will mean a lot to me, based on the amount of kids I know on their football team and my ties there. It's been a big part of my life for a long time, so I can't say that there's not going to be emotions. It will be different than walking into a place I've never been before, that is where it's been home for me for a long time. That will be a little bit different, but we will prepare as a team and I'll prepare as a coach the exact same way to go in and compete."
"Southern Utah has always had a special place in my heart. I only spent a year there, but it was a fun year and a great opportunity to go down there and work," Andersen said.
USU will face a total of seven teams that went to bowl games last season, highlighted by Utah, who finished No. 2 in the AP Poll after beating then No. 4 Alabama, 31-17, in the BCS Sugar Bowl. The Utes are one of three AP Top 25 teams on USU's schedule as the Aggies will also face No. 11 Boise State and No. 25 Brigham Young. Boise State played in the Poinsettia Bowl last season while BYU was in the Las Vegas Bowl.
Other 2009 opponents who played in bowl games last season include Fresno State (New Mexico Bowl), Hawai'i (Hawai'i Bowl), Louisiana Tech (Independence Bowl), and Nevada (Humanitarian Bowl).
After a bye week following the season-opener at Utah, USU will travel to College Station, Texas for a clash of the Aggies with Texas A&M on Saturday, Sept. 12. It will be Utah State's first-ever visit to College Station and the first meeting with Texas A&M. It will be USU's second Big 12 opponent in three years after the Aggies played at Oklahoma in 2007. Overall, Utah State is 9-40-1 all-time against teams in the current Big 12 Conference.
"The bye the second week is new to me and I've never been in that situation, so I don't know if I like that or not. It does give us a long time to prepare for Texas A&M, so that could be a positive," Andersen said.
The Aggies host in-state foe Southern Utah on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m., in USU's home opener. It is the first meeting between USU and SUU since 2000, when the Aggies won, 30-14, in Utah State's only meeting with the Thunderbirds. The Sept. 26 game will be USU's latest home-opener since 2003 when USU opened the season on Sept. 27.
Another in-state opponent is on tap on Friday, Oct. 2, when USU plays at BYU at 7 p.m. It is the first time since 2001 that Utah State will play at both Utah and BYU in the same season.
"BYU on a Friday night will be a short turnaround for us after the Southern Utah home game, and then we get right into the heart of conference play," Andersen said.
The Aggies open their fifth season of Western Athletic Conference action on Saturday, Oct. 10 at Las Cruces, N.M., at 6 p.m., against New Mexico State in another clash of the Aggies. USU has won two in a row against NMSU as part of six of its last eight and is 27-6 all-time against the southern Aggies. Utah State has won in its last two visits to Las Cruces as part of a 15-2 overall record there.
Utah State's home WAC opener is Saturday, Oct. 17 when the Aggies take on Nevada at 1 p.m., and USU will be trying to halt a four-game losing skid to the Wolf Pack as the Aggies are 4-15 all-time against Nevada, including 2-9 at home.
USU continues its two-game homestand on Saturday, Oct. 24, facing Louisiana Tech, also at 1 p.m. The Aggies are 2-4 against the Bulldogs all-time including 1-2 at Logan.
Halloween night, Saturday, Oct. 31, features Utah State traveling to Fresno, Calif, to play Fresno State at 3 p.m. (MT). USU is 10-13-1 against Fresno State all-time including a 2-10-1 record at Fresno.
The Aggies make the long trek to Honolulu on Saturday, Nov. 7 to tangle with the Warriors of Hawai'i, who USU has a 5-4 record against, including 2-3 on the islands.
Utah State hosts San Jose State on Saturday, Nov. 14, at 1 p.m. The Aggies have lost three in a row against the Spartans as part of a 10-20-1 all-time ledger, but USU has a 7-8 home mark against SJSU.
A national television audience will watch Utah State's home game against defending WAC champion Boise State on the night of Friday, Nov. 20, and the Aggies will be gunning for their first home win over the Broncos since 1997.
"It will be very fun to have Boise in here on a Friday night and hopefully we can fill the stadium with Aggie sweatshirts," Andersen said.
Utah State closes out regular-season action at Moscow, Idaho against Idaho on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 3 p.m. (MT). USU is 17-16-2 all-time against UI, including 8-9-1 at Moscow, having won in its last visit there, a 24-19 victory in 2007. The Aggies have won four of their last five regular-season finales, and are 11-7 in their last 18 final games of the year
USU has 21 starters returning (10 offense, seven defense and four special teams) as part of 46 returning lettermen from last season's 3-9 team. Last season was the first time since 2005 that the Aggies had three wins in a season and USU's 3-5 Western Athletic Conference record was their most wins in the four seasons that USU has been in the league. It was also the first time since 2003 that USU has won three conference games and just the third time in the 2000's (2000: 4-1 Big West; 2003: 3-4 Big West; 2008: 3-5 WAC).
Utah State football season ticket renewal applications are currently available online at www.utahstateaggies.com. Paper renewals will be mailed Monday, April 6. General Admission season tickets will be available for purchase at Romney Stadium during the Aggies' spring game on Saturday, April 18. Orders for both West and East side reserved seats will also be taken with payment, though seat locations will not be available until after June 1.
For more ticket information, contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.
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