Aug 25, 2013
LOGAN, Utah -
Press Conference Video
(RV) UTAH STATE at UTAH
GAME ONE INFORMATION Date: Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013 Kickoff: 6:05 p.m. Location: Salt Lake City, Utah Stadium: Rice-Eccles (45,017) Series: Utah leads, 77-29-4 TV: Fox Sports 1 Justin Kutcher (Play-by-Play) Petros Papadakis (Analyst) Kristina Pink (Reporter) Radio: Utah State Sports Network Al Lewis (Play-by-Play) Craig Hislop (Analyst) Live Stats: UtahStateAggies.com Twitter Updates: /USUFootball YouTube: /USUAthletics Facebook: /USUFootball Tickets: 1-801-581-UTIX (8849)
WHAT TO WATCH FOR...
Utah State begins its 116th season of football at Utah on Thursday, Aug. 29 and is 506-508-31 (.499) in its previous 115 seasons. USU has nine nationally televised games on ESPN, CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports 1 in 2013 and two more that will be broadcast regionally on ROOT SPORTS.
Utah State will open the 2013 season with consecutive road games (Aug. 29 at Utah; Sept. 7 at Air Force) for the first time since 2009, for the 24th time since 1960 and for the 29th time in school history. USU is also playing four of its first five games on the road in 2013 for the first time since 2009.
Utah State is playing Utah for the 111th time in series history, which is the oldest rivalry in school history. The series began in 1892 with a USU win (12-0) and the two teams played one another on an annual basis for 90 straight seasons (1919-2009) minus the 1943 year when neither school fielded a team due to World War II. However, in 2010 the series took a two-year hiatus. Overall, the USU-UU series is tied for the 12th-most played series in the nation at the FBS level and tied for the 22nd-most played series in college football. USU's second-oldest rival is BYU (82 games).
Utah State enters the 2013 season on a seven-game winning streak, which is tied with San Jose State and Vanderbilt for the fourth-longest active winning streak in the nation behind Ohio State (12), Arkansas State (8) and Stanford (8). That seven-game winning streak is also tied for the third-longest winning streak in school history along with the 1907, 1921-22 and 1965 teams, and the longest since the 1959-60 teams won 10 straight games. The longest winning streak in school history was from 1906-08 when those three teams combined for 13 straight wins.
Utah State enters the 2013 season having won each of its last three road games and is 7-2 in its last nine road games dating back to the 2011 season.
Utah State enters the 2013 season having won 16 of its last 19 games, which is USU's best stretch since going 18-2-1 during the 1960-61 seasons. USU's three losses during its last 19 games have been by a combined six points as it lost to Ohio (24-23) in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and at No. 22 Wisconsin (16-14) and at BYU (6-3) in 2012.
Utah State finished the 2012 season out-scoring its opponents 138-9 in the first quarter allowing only field goals by San Jose State, UTSA and Toledo, and USU was the only team in the country to not allow a first quarter touchdown on the year. In fact, Utah State has not allowed a first quarter touchdown in its last 16 games dating back to the 2011 season. The last team to score a first quarter touchdown against USU was Idaho in Moscow on Nov. 19, 2011.
Utah State has 59 players in its program from the state of Utah, while Utah has 44 players on its roster from the Beehive state.
UTAH STATE OPENS 2013 SEASON AT UTAH
Utah State will kickoff its 116th season of football on Thursday, Aug. 29 at Utah at 6 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1 (Comcast Ch. 265/691HD, Dish Network Ch. 150, DirecTV Ch. 219) with Justin Kutcher (play-by-play), Petros Papadakis (analyst) and Kristina Pink (reporter) on the call. Live audio of the game is also available on www.UtahStateAggies.com. Live stats will also be available through GameTracker, while Twitter updates - @USUFootball - will also be a part of Utah State's Game Day coverage.
UTAH STATE RECEIVING VOTES IN BOTH PRESEASON POLLS
For the first time since the beginning of the 1966 season, Utah State is receiving preseason votes as it garnered 23 votes in the USA Today preseason coaches' poll to rank 35th nationally and eight votes in the Associated Press preseason poll to rank 37th nationally. According to available records, the last time USU received preseason votes prior to the 2013 season was at the beginning of the 1966 campaign when it was listed within the Associated Press poll, which only ranked 10 teams at that time.
UTAH STATE ENTERING FIRST SEASON IN THE MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
Utah State is entering its first year as a member of the Mountain West and has been a Division I-A/Bowl Championship Series football playing school in each of its 115 seasons of competition. USU joined the Mountain States/Skyline Conference in 1938 until 1961. USU then played as a football independent from 1962-77 when the Aggies became members of the Pacific Coast Athletic Association in 1978. The PCAA changed its name to the Big West Conference in 1988. Following the 2000 season when the Big West no longer sponsored football, USU spent two years as an independent (2001-02) and two years in the Sun Belt Conference (2003-04) before joining the Western Athletic Conference in 2005 for eight seasons.
UTAH STATE ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN 2012
Utah State had its best season in school history in 2012 as it set the single-season school record for wins with 11, bettering the 1960 and 1961 teams that won nine games. USU also set a single-season school record with its six home wins, bettering the 1931, 1935 and 1972 teams that all won five home games. USU went 6-0 at home in 2012 for its first undefeated home season since 1982 (4-0) and just its fourth in the 45 years of play at Romney Stadium along with the 1968 (4-0) and 1972 (5-0) teams. USU also posted the school's first-ever 6-0 conference mark and won six league games for just the second time in school history joining the 1936 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Championship team that went 6-0-1 in league play. USU also recorded its first ever road win against a ranked opponent when it posted a 48-41 overtime victory at then No. 19 Louisiana Tech. USU also appeared in the Associated Press (AP) poll in four-straight weeks in 2012 for the first time in school history, not to mention being ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll and Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Standings for the first time ever. And finally, USU finished the 2012 season nationally ranked - 16th in the AP poll, 18th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll and 22nd in the BCS Standings - for just the third time in school history joining the 1961 team that finished the year ranked 10th nationally in both the AP and United Press International (UPI) polls and the 1972 team that finished 19th in the UPI poll.
UTAH STATE COMING OFF BACK-TO-BACK BOWL APPEARANCES
Utah State played in consecutive bowl games for just the third time in school history in 2012 after appearing in each of the last two Famous Idaho Potato Bowls, including just its second-ever bowl win in 2012 as it defeated Toledo, 41-15. USU's only other bowl win was at the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl when it defeated Ball State, 42-33. USU has never played in three-straight bowl games.
UTAH STATE WON THE MAJORITY OF ITS GAMES IN 2012 IN THE FIRST HALF
Utah State had a 254-60 scoring advantage in the first-half last season as it held 10 of its 13 opponents scoreless in the first quarter and three opponents scoreless in the first half. USU also led at the half in all but one game last year (trailed BYU, 6-3), and scored first in every game except at San Jose State (FG) and against Toledo (FG). USU also ended the season with an 11-1 record when leading at the half with its only loss coming at Wisconsin. Furthermore, in 13 games and 780 minutes of play last season, Utah State led or was tied for all but 65:39 (91.2 %).
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State produced at least 500 yards of total offense seven times last year, including in five of its last six games.
A LOOK AT UTAH STATE
Utah State returns 18 starters (O-8, D-7, S-3) and 49 letterwinners (O-23, D-22, S-4) from last year's team that finished with a 11-2 record and won the Western Athletic Conference with a perfect 6-0 mark. USU ended its season with a 41-15 win against Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and was ranked 16th nationally by the Associated Press. Highlighting Utah State's returners is senior center Tyler Larsen who is a two-time first-team all-WAC honoree. Joining Larsen as returning all-conference players from 2012 are senior linebacker Jake Doughty (first-team), sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell (first-team), junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton (first-team), senior offensive tackle Eric Schultz (first-team), senior cornerback Nevin Lawson (second-team), senior offensive guard Jamie Markosian (second-team), sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Nielsen (second-team), junior linebacker Zach Vigil (second-team) and senior defensive tackle Connor Williams (honorable-mention). Along with the players mentioned above, USU also returns four other starters on offense (WR-Travis Reynolds; TE-D.J. Tialavea; OT-Kevin Whimpey; OG-Kyle Whimpey), two other starters on defense (NG-Elvis Kamana-Matagi; S-Brian Suite) and three special teams starters (PK/H-Jaron Bentrude; PK-Nick Diaz; LS-Nate Needham).
WHAT UTAH STATE MUST REPLACE FROM 2012
Utah State lost seven players who earned all-WAC honors in 2012 as cornerback Will Davis, defensive tackle Al Lapuaho and running back Kerwynn Williams all earned first-team honors, wide receiver Matt Austin and safety McKade Brady earned second-team honors, and tight end Kellen Bartlett and wide receiver Chuck Jacobs earned honorable mention honors. Davis also earned third-team All-American honors from CBSSports.com, fourth-team All-American honors from Phil Steele, and honorable mention All-American honors from SI.com. Williams was also an honorable mention All-American by SI.com. Other starters lost include punter Tyler Bennett.
UTAH STATE COACHING CHANGES FOR 2013
First-year Utah State head coach Matt Wells retained four assistant coaches from the previous staff and hired five new coaches for the 2013 season. Mark Weber was hired as an assistant head coach and offensive line coach; Todd Orlando was hired as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach; Kevin McGiven was hired as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach; Dave Ungerer was hired as the special teams coordinator and running backs coach; and Luke Wells was hired as the co-offensive coordinator, tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator. Coaches returning from last year's staff include wide receivers coach Jovon Bouknight, linebackers coach Kevin Clune, defensive line coach Frank Maile, and cornerbacks coach Kendrick Shaver.
DID YOU KNOW?
Eleven former Utah State football players are currently on NFL preseason rosters as of August 25 including Diondre Borel (Tennessee), Jarrett Bush (Green Bay), Will Davis (Miami), Chuck Jacobs (San Francisco), Al Lapuaho (St. Louis), Curtis Marsh (Philadelphia), Donald Penn (Tampa Bay), Michael Smith (Tampa Bay), Robert Turbin (Seattle), Bobby Wagner (Seattle) and Kerwynn Williams (Indianapolis).
UTAH STATE ONE OF THE MOST EXPERIENCED TEAMS IN THE NATION
Utah State enters the 2013 season tied with Army and trailing South Alabama as the second most experienced team at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level according to Phil Steele's College Football Preview as USU returns 13 seniors and seven juniors who have started games, and three additional seniors and 12 additional juniors listed on its preseason depth chart.
UTAH STATE HAS FOURTH-MOST EXPERIENCED OFFENSIVE LINE IN THE NATION
Utah State enters the 2013 season returning all five of its starters on the offensive line from a year ago and has the fourth-most experienced offensive line in the nation according to Phil Steele's College Football Preview with 110 career starts between senior center Tyler Larsen (38), senior tackle Eric Schultz (32), senior guard Jamie Markosian (15), senior guard Kyle Whimpey (13) and junior tackle Kevin Whimpey (12). Texas has the most experienced offensive line with 124 career starts, followed by Tennessee (123), Duke (113) and Utah State (110).
WELLS IS THE 11TH-YOUNGEST HEAD COACH AT THE FBS LEVEL
First-year Utah State head football coach Matt Wells is the 11th-youngest head coach at the FBS level at 40 years of age (8-10-73). Wells is also just the second USU graduate to be appointed its head football coach joining Chris Pella who graduated from USU in 1965 and coached the Aggies from 1983-85. Wells was a three-year letterwinner at quarterback from USU from 1994-96.
WELLS IS ONE OF 12 HEAD COACH AT THE FBS LEVEL WHO PLAYED AT SAME SCHOOL
First-year Utah State head football coach Matt Wells is one of just 12 head coaches at the FBS level who played college football at the same school he is currently the head coach at joining Troy Calhoun (Air Force), Ruffin McNeill (East Carolina) Paul Haynes (Kent State), Don Treadwell (Miami, Ohio), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), David Shaw (Stanford), Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech), Bill Blankenship (Tulsa), Sean Kugler (UTEP) and Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech).
UTAH STATE CLAIMS BEEHIVE BOOT TROPHY FOR SECOND TIME IN LAST THREE YEARS
For the second time in the last three years, Utah State football holds possession of the historic Beehive Boot trophy, the symbol of gridiron supremacy in the state of Utah, as a state-wide media vote was conducted and Utah State was declared the 2012 winner. The media vote was needed after all three in-state schools produced a 1-1 record in 2012 as USU defeated Utah (27-20 OT) and lost to BYU (6-3), while BYU lost to Utah (24-21). This is just the fourth-time in the Boot's 42-year history that a media vote was needed to declare the winner, also doing so in 1973, 1997 and 2010, and Utah State has been chosen as the holder of the trophy all four times. Overall, Utah State has won the Beehive Boot trophy eight times: 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1982, 1997, 2010 and 2012.
UTAH STATE BLOCKED SIX KICKS IN 2012
Utah State blocked six kicks during the 2012 season with two blocked punts, three blocked field goals and one blocked extra point. USU's first blocked kick of the season was by junior linebacker Zach Vigil who blocked a Utah punt that was recovered in the end zone by senior safety Clayton Christensen. The Aggies' second blocked kick of the year was by sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Nielsen who blocked an extra point in the Wisconsin game. USU's third blocked kick of the season was at BYU as senior defensive lineman Paul Piukala blocked a 34-yard field goal attempt. USU's fourth blocked kick of the year was against New Mexico State as sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell blocked a 42-yard field goal attempt. Its fifth blocked kick of the year was at UTSA as senior cornerback Tay Glover-Wright blocked a punt on UTSA's first series of the game. And its sixth blocked kick of the year was at Louisiana Tech as Nielsen blocked a 43-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter.
RUNNING BACK UNIVERSITY
Utah State is the only school in the nation who has had three running backs selected in the NFL Draft during the last two seasons as Robert Turbin (Seattle, 4/111) and Michael Smith (Tampa Bay, 7/212) were both chosen in 2012, while Kerywnn Williams (Indianapolis, 7/230) was selected in 2013. Linebacker Bobby Wagner (Seattle, 2/47) was also taken in the 2012 NFL Draft and cornerback Will Davis (Miami, 3/93) was selected in 2013 giving Utah State five NFL Draft picks during the past two years.
Utah State had 21 football players earn academic all-WAC honors during the 2012-13 academic year, which ranked first in the WAC. Over the past four years, USU has had 87 players earn academic all-WAC honors and 94 players have graduated from Utah State University.
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State was one of just 13 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools to win 10 or more football games and 20-plus basketball games during the 2012-13 academic year as the Aggies went 11-2 on the gridiron and 21-10 on the hardwood. Other FBS schools in the 20-10 club include Alabama, Boise State, Cincinnati, Florida, Kansas State, Kent State, Louisville, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon and UCF.
UTAH STATE OFFENSIVE NOTABLES FROM 2012
Utah State's offense in 2012 ended up being one of the best in school history, statistically, as it set single-season school records for total points (454), total offense (6,108 yards), completions (285), completion percentage (.679), total yards per game (469.8) and total yards per attempt (6.83), while ranking second in points per game (34.9), total passing yards (3,445), first downs (272) and touchdowns (59).
Nationally, Utah State's 2012 offense ranked second in the WAC and 23rd in the country in total offense (469.8 ypg), second in the WAC and 18th in the nation in passing efficiency (153.21), second in the WAC and 25th in the nation in rushing offense (204.8 ypg), third in the WAC and 31st in the nation in sacks allowed (1.38 pg), third in the WAC and 33rd in the nation in scoring offense (34.9 ppg), and third in the WAC and 39th in the nation in passing offense (265.0 ypg).
Utah State returns four offensive players who earned various all-WAC accolades in 2012 as junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton, senior offensive center Tyler Larsen and senior offensive tackle Eric Schultz were all named to the first-team, while senior offensive guard Jamie Markosian was named to the second-team.
Senior center Tyler Larsen has started 38 consecutive games, which ranks first in the Mountain West and tied for fifth at the FBS level. Senior tackle Eric Schultz has started 32 consecutive games to rank tied for seventh in the MW and tied for 41st in the nation. Larsen was named to the WAC's first-team for the second year in a row in 2012. Overall, Larsen is just the 33rd player in school history to be a two-time first-team all-league selection.
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton was named the WAC's Offensive Player of the Week four times during the 2012 season, becoming the first player in school history to accomplish that feat. Keeton was also the first WAC player to earn four player of the week honors in a single season since 2010. As a sophomore in 2012, Keeton set single-season USU school records for touchdown passes (27), passing yards (3,373), total offense (3,992 yards), completions (275) and completion percentage (.676).
With its 41-15 win against Toledo in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Utah State extended its own school record by scoring 38-plus points in seven-straight games and bettered the previous school record of 38-plus points in three-straight games accomplished six times and most recently in 2000.
Utah State had 72 explosive plays in 2012 (plays of 20-plus yards), including 10 rushes and eight passes of at least 50 yards. On the season, Utah State averaged 5.5 explosive plays per game.
Utah State has had a player rush for at least 100 yards 30 times in the last four years, including nine times in 2012. Prior to that, USU produced a 100-yard rusher 23 times in the previous eight seasons combined. Furthermore, USU has had a player rush for 200 or more yards three times in the past two seasons, but just once in the previous 10 seasons.
UTAH STATE DEFENSIVE NOTABLES FROM 2012
Utah State's 2012 defense ranked among the top 15 in the nation in five different statistical categories, including being ranked first in the WAC and seventh in the nation in scoring defense (15.38 ppg), which is the fewest points allowed by an Aggie defense since 1965. USU also ranked second in the WAC and tied for sixth nationally in sacks (3.23 pg), first in the WAC and 10th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (104.43), second in the WAC and 13th in the country in rushing defense (113.77 ypg), first in the WAC and 15th in the nation in total defense (322.08 ypg), and first in the WAC and 32nd in the nation in passing defense (208.31 ypg). USU's defense also led the WAC and ranked tied for first in the nation in red zone efficiency along with BYU and Penn State at 63.6 percent allowing just 13 touchdowns and 15 field goals on 44 trips inside the 20.
Utah State allowed just 15.4 points per game in 2012, which is the fewest by an Aggie defense since the 1965 team allowed 13.6 points per game and ranks as the sixth-fewest points allowed in a single-season in school history trailing the 1960 (6.5 ppg), 1961 (7.8 ppg), 1963 (9.9 ppg), 1964 (13.6 ppg) and 1965 (13.6 ppg) teams. In fact, the last Aggie defense to allow fewer than 20 points a game was in 1983 (19.5).
Utah State tied for eighth in the nation with an average of 5.08 three-and-outs per game on the season and forced a three-and-out by its opposition 66 times on 177 drives, which averages out to 37.2 percent of the time. USU also allowed its opponents to convert just 32.88 percent of its third downs (73-222), which ranked first in the WAC and 19th in the nation.
Utah State concluded the 2012 season with 14 interceptions and seven in its final three games as it recorded two picks against Louisiana Tech, three against Idaho and two against Toledo. Those 14 interceptions in 2012 were its most since registering 15 in 2007.
Utah State returns six defensive players who earned various all-WAC accolades in 2012 as senior linebacker Jake Doughty and sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell were both named to the first-team, while senior cornerback Nevin Lawson, sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Nielsen and junior linebacker Zach Vigil were all named to the second-team, and senior defensive tackle Connor Williams was named to the honorable mention team.
KEETON RANKS FIRST ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN COMPLETION PERCENTAGE
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton is 381-of-581 passing during his Utah State career with a completion percentage of 65.6 percent, which ranks first all-time in school history. Keith Myers (1976-77) ranks second all-time at 60.7 percent.
KEETON RANKS FOURTH ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN TOUCHDOWN PASSES
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks fourth all-time in school history with 38 touchdown passes and will enter his junior year one touchdown pass shy of tying Brent Snyder (1987-88) for third all-time with 39 career touchdown passes. The school record for career touchdown passes is 60 set by Jose Fuentes (1999-2002).
KEETON RANKS NINTH ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN COMPLETIONS
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks ninth all-time at Utah State with 381 career completions and will enter his junior season one completion shy of tying Leon Jackson III (2004-07) for eighth with 382 career completions. The school record is 704 completions set by Jose Fuentes (1999-2002).
KEETON RANKS SEVENTH ALL-TIME AT UTAH STATE IN TOTAL OFFENSE
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton has 5,485 yards of total offense in his career to rank seventh all-time in school history. The school record for total offense is 8,791 yards by Jose Fuentes (1999-2002) and Keeton will enter his junior year 353 yards of total offense shy of tying Anthony Calvillo (1992-93) for sixth-place with 5,838 yards.
KEETON RANKS NINTH ALL-TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN PASSING YARDS
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton has thrown for 4,573 yards to rank ninth all-time in school history and will enter his junior season 149 yards shy of tying Travis Cox (2001-04) for eighth-place with 4,722 passing yards. The school record for passing yards is 9,168 set by Jose Fuentes (1999-2002).
INSIDE THE NUMBERS WITH JUNIOR QUARTERBACK Chuckie Keeton
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton threw at least two touchdown passes in a game 10 times last year and 13 times in his career. Keeton also rushed for a touchdown eight times last season and 12 times in his career. Furthermore, Keeton has thrown for at least 300 yards three times in his last five games, and five times in his career.
KEETON SETS NUMEROUS SINGLE-SEASON RECORDS IN 2012
Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton set numerous single-season school records in 2012 including touchdown passes (27), passing yards (3,373), total offense (3,992), completion percentage (.676) and completions (275), while ranking seventh in passing attempts (407). The previous school record for touchdown passes was 24 set by Jose Fuentes in 2001. Fuentes also had the previous school record for passing yards of 3,268 set in 2002 and completions of 260 set in 2001. The previous record for total offense was 3,343 yards set by Diondre Borel in 2009, while Leon Jackson III held the previous school record for completion percentage at 65.4 percent set in 2007.
DIAZ ONE OF THREE KICKERS IN SCHOOL HISTORY TO NOT MISS AN EXTRA POINT
Junior placekicker Nick Diaz finished the 2012 season a perfect 40-of-40 on extra points and is one of just three kickers in school history to not miss an extra point with a minimum of 30 attempts along with Willie Beecher (1981-84) who made 64 extra points during his career without a miss and Russ Moody (1988-89) who made 44 extra points during his career without a miss.
DIAZ FINISHES TIED FOR FIRST ALL-TIME IN SCHOOL HISTORY IN PAT PERCENTAGE
Junior placekicker Nick Diaz was a perfect 40-of-40 on extra points in 2012 marking the seventh time in school history that an Aggie kicker has not missed an extra point with a minimum of 20 made PAT's. Diaz also ranks second all-time at USU for a single-season in extra points made (40) and third in extra point attempts (40), while ranking eight in single-season field goal percentage (.769) as he was 8-of-11 on field goals. The single-season school record for extra points made and attempted were both set in 2011 by current senior placekicker Josh Thompson who was 57-of-58 on extra points. The single-season school record for field goal percentage is 86.7 percent set by Russ Moody in 1988 as he was 13-of-15 on field goals.
AGGIES WHO ARE MARRIED AND HAVE BEEN ON MISSIONS
Utah State has 12 players on its team who are married (Clayton Christensen, Craig Harrison, Tyler Larsen, Logan Malohifo'ou, Jeff Manning, Nate Needham, AJ Pataiali'i, Bridger Peck, Joe Summers, Josh Thompson, Kevin Whimpey, Kyle Whimpey), while 24 Aggies have served a two-year LDS Church Mission (Ricky Ali'ifua, Jarom Baldomero, Eric Bernston, Brock Bird, Jordan Brown, Clayton Christensen, Jefferson Court, Dayton DeLoach, Jarom Ioane, Derek Keller, B.J. Larsen, Logan Malohifo'ou, Jeff Manning, Alex Marsaw, Nate Needham, Travis Parrish, Eric Schultz, Brayden Stembride, Joe Summers, Brandon Taukeiaho, Tyler Weese, Kevin Whimpey, Kyle Whimpey and Daniel Wray).
DID YOU KNOW?
Senior defensive end Connor Williams (Kanata, Ontario, Canada/Holy Trinity HS) is one of just 31 players from Canada currently playing college football at the FBS level. Overall, USU is one of just 17 FBS teams with a Canadian player on its roster.
AGGIES PICKED SECOND IN MOUNTAIN DIVISION OF MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE
Utah State football has been picked second in the Mountain Division of the 2013 Mountain West Conference preseason polls, while senior center Tyler Larsen and sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell were both named to the league's 25-player preseason first-team.
UTAH STATE BOWL HISTORY
Following its 41-15 win against Toledo in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, Utah State now has a 2-6 bowl record all-time as it lost to San Jose State, 20-0, in the 1946 Raisin Bowl (Fresno, Calif.); lost to Pacific, 35-21, in the 1947 Grape Bowl (Lodi, Calif.); lost to New Mexico State, 20-13, in the 1960 Sun Bowl (El Paso, Texas); lost to Baylor, 24-9, in the 1961 Gotham Bowl (New York City); defeated Ball State, 42-33, in the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl II; lost to Cincinnati, 35-19, in the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl; and lost to Ohio, 24-23, in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, along with its win in 2012 against Toledo.
AGGIE UNIFORM OPTIONS IN 2013
Utah State will have nine different jersey and pant combinations, manufactured by Nike, to go along with two different helmet options for a total of 18 different uniform combinations for the 2013 season. Along with its traditional blue and white uniforms, a new pewter grey uniform will be utilized this season. Two helmet options are also available including a new diamond pattern blue and black helmet with a black face mask, along with its traditional white helmet with a blue face mask. Home uniform options feature a traditional combination of blue jersey with blue or white pants, as well as an option of blue jersey and pewter pants. Road uniform combinations can be built around the newly-designed pewter jersey or the traditional white jersey. The road pewter jerseys can be combined with pewter, blue or white pants, while white jerseys can be worn with white, blue or pewter pants. Both helmet options will also be utilized with the various uniform combinations for both home and away games.
A LOOK AT UTAH
Utah returns 13 starters (O-6, D-6, S-1) and 47 lettermen (O-20, D-26, S-1) from last year's team that went 5-7 and finished in fifth-place in the South Division of the Pac-12 Conference with a 3-6 mark. Utah also has 21 redshirts returning from last season to go along with 37 newcomers. Highlighting Utah's 13 returning starters is senior defensive end Trevor Reilly who earned honorable mention All-Pac 12 honors a year ago as he ranked first on the team with 69 total tackles. Junior tight end Jake Murphy also earned honorable mention All-Pac 12 honors a year ago as he ranked second on the team with 33 receptions for 349 yards to go along with four touchdowns. Other all-league performers returning for the Utes include sophomore offensive lineman Jeremiah Poutasi, senior safety Brian Blechen, and junior free safety Eric Rowe who all earned honorable mention All-Pac 12 honors in 2012. Utah is coached by Kyle Whittingham who is 71-32 in eight seasons in charge of the program.
AGGIES AND UTES SERIES HISTORY
Utah State trails in the all-time series against Utah, 29-77-4, including a 17-52-4 record in Salt Lake City. Overall, Utah had won 12 straight games played in the series before Utah State's 27-20 overtime win in Logan a year ago. The last time the two teams played in Salt Lake City was on Sept. 3, 2009 with the Utes winning 35-17. In fact, Utah has won each of the last six games played against the two teams in Salt Lake City as USU's last win at Utah was on Aug. 30, 1997 by a final score of 21-14. Furthermore, that USU win against Utah in Salt Lake City in 1997 was also the last time the Aggies won consecutive games in the series as USU also posted a 20-17 home win against the Utes on Aug. 31, 1996.
TOP AGGIE PERFORMERS VERSUS UTAH
Rushing Yards: Louie Giammona (1974), 207
Passing Yards: Tony Adams (1972), 561
Receiving Yards: Craig Clark (1972), 224
UTAH STATE-UTAH SERIES 12TH-MOST PLAYED IN THE NATION
The Utah State versus Utah series is tied for the 12th-most played rivalry in the nation at the FBS level with 110 previous meetings, and tied for the 22nd-most played rivalry in college football. It is the second-most played rivalry in the Rocky Mountain region behind the Montana versus Montana State rivalry (112) and fourth-most played in the West trailing the Oregon and Oregon State series (115), the Stanford versus California series (114) and the previously mentioned Montana versus Montana State series.
UTAH STATE-UTAH SERIES IN THE FUTURE
Utah State and Utah are schedule to play each other one more time under its current contract at Utah in 2015.
UTAH STATE AGAINST BCS SCHOOLS
Utah State is 46-174-5 (.216) all-time against current BCS schools with almost half of those games (110) being played against Utah.
AGGIES HAVE PERFORMED WELL AGAINST BCS TEAMS DURING THE LAST FOUR YEARS
Utah State has been very competitive in games against BCS schools during the last four years. In 2009, USU lost at Texas A&M, 38-30. In 2010, USU lost at then No. 7 Oklahoma, 31-24. In 2011, USU lost at defending national champion and No. 19 Auburn, 42-38, after leading for the majority of the game. And in 2012, USU defeated Utah at home, 27-20 OT, and lost at then No. 22 Wisconsin, 16-14.
UTAH STATE COACHING STAFF CONNECTIONS WITH UTAH
Utah State has several coaching connections with Utah, including USU linebackers coach Kevin Clune who was a graduate assistant at Utah for two years (2001-02). Utah defensive line coach Ilaisa Tuiaki spent three years at Utah State (2009-11) as the running backs coach. Utah offensive graduate assistant Robert Conley was a graduate assistant at Utah State in 2001, and Utah defensive graduate assistant Jayson Anderson graduated from Utah State in 2011.
MORE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN UTAH STATE AND UTAH
Utah State linebackers coach Kevin Clune and Utah defensive coordinator Kalani Sitake both coached together at Southern Utah during the 2003 and 2004 seasons. Utah offensive line coach Dan Finn was also at Southern Utah during the 2004 season. Utah State offensive coordinator Kevin McGiven and Sitake were both graduate assistants at BYU during the 2002 season. Utah State offensive administrative assistant Naufahu Tahi was a player at BYU when Sitake was a graduate assistant at BYU in 2002.
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State will face a pair of Pac-12 opponents (Aug. 29 at Utah; Sept. 21 at USC) in 2013 for the first time since 1998. USU's 2013 slate also marks the third time in five years that it will face three in-state foes (Aug. 29 at Utah; Sept. 14 vs. Weber State; Oct. 4 vs. BYU) also doing so in 2009 and 2012. Prior to 2009, USU hadn't played three Beehive State teams in the same season since 2001.
UTAH STATE VERSUS THE PAC-12 CONFERENCE
Utah State is 40-120-5 (.258) all-time against current members of the Pac-12 Conference with a 29-77-4 record against Utah, a 6-11-1 record against Colorado, a 2-11-0 record against Arizona State, a 2-4 record against Arizona, a 1-2 record against Washington State, 0-4 records against both Oregon and USC, an 0-3 record against Oregon State, an 0-2 record against Washington, and 0-1 records against both Stanford and UCLA. The only current Pac-12 team that USU has not played is California. Other than Utah, the last time USU played a Pac-12 team was on Sept. 6, 2008 when it lost at Oregon (66-24).
WELLS AS AN ASSISTANT COACH AGAINST UTAH
Utah State head coach Matt Wells will coach his first-ever game as a head coach against Utah in the Aggies season opener, but it won't be the first time Wells has coached against the Utes. In fact, Wells' teams have played Utah six previous times including USU's 27-20 overtime win against Utah in 2012. As an assistant coach at New Mexico, Wells and the Lobos played the Utes three times (2007, 2008, 2010). As an assistant coach at Tulsa, Wells and the Golden Hurricane played the Utes once (2006), and as an assistant coach at Louisville, Wells and the Cardinals played the Utes once (2009).
WELLS VERSUS THE PAC-12 CONFERENCE
Utah State head coach Matt Wells is 3-1 all-time as an assistant coach when facing teams from the Pac-12 Conference. As an assistant at New Mexico, the Lobos posted a pair of wins against Arizona and a loss to Oregon. And as an assistant at Utah State, the Aggies defeated Utah, 27-20, in overtime during the 2012 season.
UTAH STATE ON THE ROAD
Utah State has won seven of its last nine road games dating back to 2011, including a 4-2 record last year. USU has also won six-straight conference road games to rank as the longest winning streak on the road since the 1995-1997 teams combined to win six-straight Big West Conference road games. USU's four road wins in 2012 are its most since going 4-3 on the road in 1980.
UTAH STATE AT HOME
Utah State has won eight-straight home games, which is its longest home winning streak since the 1966-68 teams also combined to win eight-straight home games, and that eight game home winning streak ranks as the seventh-longest in school history. The school record for consecutive home wins is 17 set from 1959-63. All-time, USU is 119-95 (.556) at Romney Stadium.
UTAH STATE TO PLAY SIX HOME GAMES FOR FOURTH-STRAIGHT SEASON
Utah State's 2013 schedule marks the fourth-straight season, the fifth time in the last six years, and the sixth time in the last 17 years that it will play six home games. Overall, the Aggies have had six home games on the slate a total of only just 10 times: 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008, 1998, 1996, 1995, 1978, 1952.
LOOKING INSIDE UTAH STATE'S 2013 SCHEDULE
Utah State's 2013 schedule features five teams who played in bowl games a year ago as Air Force played in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (L, 33-14 vs. Rice); USC played in the Hyundai Sun Bowl (L, 21-7 vs. Georgia Tech); San Jose State played in the Military Bowl (W, 29-20 vs. Bowling Green); BYU played in the San Diego Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (W, 23-6 vs. San Diego State); and Boise State played in the Las Vegas Maaco Bowl (W, 28-26 vs. Washington).
RANKED OPPONENTS ON UTAH STATE'S 2013 SCHEDULE
Boise State and San Jose State are the two teams on Utah State's 2013 schedule that finished 2012 nationally ranked as the Broncos were 14th in the USA Today Coaches' Poll and 18th in the Associated Press Poll, while the Spartans were 21st in both polls. Boise State is ranked No. 19 in both preseason polls to start the 2013 season, while USC is ranked No. 24 in both polls.
AGGIES IN AUGUST
Utah State is 3-5 all-time in games played during the month of August, including a 1-3 road record. This will be USU's first-ever game played on Aug. 29, which is the second-earliest date it has ever opened a season (Aug. 28, 2003 at Utah). In all, this will be the 18th time that Utah State has started its season against Utah, and ninth time in Salt Lake City.
DID YOU KNOW?
Utah State head coach Matt Wells will be the second consecutive Aggie coach, along with Gary Andersen, to begin his Aggie coaching career at Utah. Andersen's first game as USU head coach was also at Utah on Sept. 3, 2009 with UU winning, 35-17. Ironically, that was also the last time USU played at Utah prior to this year's meeting. Overall, Wells is the fourth Aggie head coach to begin his USU coaching career against Utah as Dave Arslanian's first game as an Aggie head coach was against Utah in Logan on Sept. 5, 1998, with the Utes winning 20-12. The first Aggie head coach to begin his USU career against Utah was Clayton T. Teetzel on Oct. 9, 1909 in Logan as Utah won that game, 28-0.
LAST GAME BETWEEN USU AND UU
LOGAN, Utah - Kerwynn Williams' 1-yard run in overtime gave Utah State the lead and senior cornerback Will Davis' pass break-up in the end zone sealed Utah State's 27-20 win against Utah in front of a sold-out crowd, which was USU's first against Utah since 1997, as well as improving to 2-0 for the first time since that same year.
USU also won its seventh-straight regular-season game dating back to last year, while Utah leveled its record at 1-1. The Aggies' win snapped their 12-game losing skein to the Utes.
Utah State had 380 total yards of offense, as sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton tied his career-high for completions on 22-of-32 passing for 216 yards with two touchdowns, adding a career-high 86 yards rushing. Senior running back Williams had 17 carries for 95 yards and the game-winning score, as USU finished with 164 total yards on the ground. Senior tight end Kellen Bartlett had a career-high eight catches for 47 yards and his first career touchdown on a 4-yard toss from Keeton with 9:10 on the fourth-quarter clock.
Utah tied the game with 3:19 to go on a 24-yard pass from Jon Hays to Kenneth Scott. Hays came into the game in the second quarter after Utes' starting quarterback Jordan Wynn suffered a game-ending shoulder injury.
Hays ended the night 12-of-26 passing for 154 yards with one touchdown, while Wynn was 6-of-11 for 47 yards before getting hurt. Travis Wilson only had one pass attempt, a 28-yard scoring strike to Scott in the third quarter. John White rushed 27 times for 97 yards, while DeVonte Christopher had six catches for 56 yards and Scott ended with three receptions for 82 yards and two touchdowns.
The Aggie defense sacked Wynn three times, with redshirt-freshman defensive tackle Jordan Nielsen logging two and senior linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu posted one as part of his game and career-high 12 total tackles. Redshirt freshman linebacker Kyler Fackrell added 11 tackles, while senior safety McKade Brady and junior linebacker Zach Vigil posted 10 stops apiece. Davis, a senior cornerback, had a career-best four pass break-ups and senior Terrence Alston logged three.
The game went into overtime after Utah's Coleman Peterson missed a 52-yard field at the end of regulation.
The home team got the ball first and facing a third-and-nine, Keeton darted out of pressure and skirted 23 yards toward the end zone before getting pushed out at the one. Two players later, Williams darted around the right side to score the winning touchdown.
On Utah's overtime possession, Davis knocked away Utah's fourth-down pass from the 17-yardline on the game's final play.
The Aggies got on the board first as Vigil broke through the punt-blocking line, and junior safety Clayton Christensen recovered the kick in the end zone for a 7-0 USU lead with 7:59 on the first-quarter clock. USU wasn't done scoring in the first quarter, as Keeton hit sophomore running back Joe Hill with a 15-yard touchdown toss with three seconds left in the first frame, but the PAT missed.
Petersen booted a 42-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, sending the teams into halftime with USU ahead, 13-3.
The Utes opened the second half scoring on Wilson's 28-yard scoring pass to Scott with 11:34 left in the third quarter. Petersen booted a 40-yard field goal with 4:22 to play in the third quarter to knot the score at 13-all.
At the 9:10 mark of the fourth quarter, Keeton hit Bartlett with the 4-yard TD toss for USU's 20-13 lead, setting up the final drama.
LAST GAME BETWEEN USU AND UU IN SALT LAKE CITY
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - Matt Asiata rushed for a career-high 156 yards and 19th-ranked Utah amassed 519 yards of total offense as the Utes extended its nation-long winning streak to 15 straight games with a 35-17 win against Utah State on Sept. 3, 2009 in both teams season-opener.
Sophomore running back Robert Turbin led USU's new spread-offense with a career-high 148 rushing yards, including a school-record 96-yard scamper in the second quarter. The 96-yard run tops the previous school record of 95 yards by Percy Hanson in 1920, the Aggies' longest individual record. Turbin's 148 yards are the most for a USU individual since James Samuals' 159 yards vs. Troy State in 2002. USU ended the game with 221 yards rushing and 342 total yards.
Utah State's first drive of the season was its most impressive as junior college transfer running back Michael Smith ran for 11 yards on its first play, followed by two more on the next play before junior quarterback Diondre Borel connected with junior wide receiver Stanley Morrison for a 48-yard pass play that gave the Aggies first and 10 on the Utes 18-yardline. Following a false start on its next play, the possession stalled and USU settled for a 29-yard field goal by senior placekicker Chris Ulinski.
Utah State had a chance to extend its early lead as the Aggie defense forced the first turnover of the game on the Utes second play from scrimmage as junior defensive tackle Sean Enesi forced an Asiata fumble that was recovered by sophomore linebacker Bobby Wagner on the Utes 28. However, USU was unable to score as it missed a 48-yard field goal.
Following the Aggies' first two possessions, Utah quickly changed the momentum of the game as it scored back-to-back touchdowns on a 65-yard pass play and a 22-yard pass play to make the score 14-3 for the home team. Utah State then cut the score to 14-10 on Turbin's 96-yard touchdown run at the end of the first quarter as the Aggies had 179 yards of total offense as compared to 185 for the Utes.
Utah opened the second quarter by scoring 12 straight points via an 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive, a safety following a blocked punt, and a 44-yard field goal to make the score 26-10. USU ended the half on a positive note following an interception from senior safety James Brindley as Borel capped a 3-play, 7-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run with 51 seconds remaining in the half to cut the Utes lead to 26-17.
An offensive explosion in the first-half turned into a defensive battle in the second-half as the only points scored after intermission were by the home team as Utah scored a touchdown midway through the third quarter on a 1-yard run by Asiata, and capped the scoring with another safety with 49 seconds to play in the game. Utah State managed just 120 yards of total offense in the second-half, but limited the Utes to 210 yards.
Brindley led the Aggies with 14 tackles in the game, one shy of his career-high, while Wagner posted a career-high 12 stops.
UTAH STATE HEAD COACH Matt Wells
Aggie alumnus Matt Wells was named Utah State's 27th head football coach on Dec. 20, 2012 after serving as the team's offensive coordinator in 2012, and quarterbacks coach and recruiting coordinator in 2011.
The 39-year old Wells, who is now the 11th-youngest head coach at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level, replaces Gary Andersen who accepted the head coaching position at the University of Wisconsin. Dating back to 1919, Wells is just the second Utah State graduate to be appointed its head football coach joining Chris Pella who graduated from USU in 1965 and coached the Aggies from 1983-85.
Wells, a former Aggie quarterback and three-year letterwinner from 1994-96, was a member of two conference championship teams as a student-athlete as he was a redshirt freshman in 1993 when Utah State tied for first in the Big West Conference and defeated Ball State, 42-33, in the Las Vegas Bowl for its first-ever bowl win. As a senior in 1996, Wells helped USU to another share of the Big West Conference title.
Wells has spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Utah State, including serving as the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach during the 2012 campaign. In 2011, Wells coached USU's quarterbacks and was the team's recruiting coordinator.
Utah State concluded its most successful season in school history in 2012 as it went 11-2 and set school records for wins (11) and home wins (6), while being nationally ranked in the Associated Press poll for three-straight weeks for the first time in school history. USU also won its first outright conference championship since 1936 during the 2012 campaign and just its third in school history joining the 1921 and 1936 teams that both won Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference titles. All-time, Utah State has won or shared 11 league championships.
During his two years at Utah State, Wells has been part of a Utah State team that went to back-to-back bowl games for just the third time in school history, while posting an 18-8 record. Furthermore, USU's 41-15 win against Toledo in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl was the school's second-ever bowl victory.
As offensive coordinator this past season, Wells directed an Aggie offense that set single-season school records for total points (454), total offense (6,108 yards), completions (285) and total yards per game (469.8), while ranking second in points per game (34.9) and total passing yards (3,445).
Nationally, Utah State's 2012 offense ranked second in the Western Athletic Conference and 23rd in the country in total offense (469.8 ypg), second in the WAC and 18th in the nation in passing efficiency (153.21), second in the WAC and 25th in the nation in rushing offense (204.8 ypg), third in the WAC and 31st in the nation in sacks allowed (1.38 pg), third in the WAC and 33rd in the nation in scoring offense (34.9 ppg), and third in the WAC and 39th in the nation in passing offense (265.0 ypg).
Under Wells, Utah State finished the 2012 season scoring 38 or more points in each of its final seven games, bettering the previous school record of 38-plus points in three-straight games accomplished six times and most recently in 2000.
Utah State also finished the 2012 season winning its final seven games, which is tied for the fourth-longest active winning streak in the nation and tied for the third-longest winning streak in school history.
In 2012, Wells coached current Aggie junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton who earned first-team all-WAC honors after setting single-season school records for touchdown passes (27), passing yards (3,373), completion percentage (.676), completions (275) and total offense (3,992 yards). Keeton also earned WAC Offensive Player of the Week honors four times in 2012, which is a single-season school record.
As the quarterbacks coach in 2011, Wells helped Utah State's offense establish then-school records for total offense (5,945 yards), rushing yards (3,675), total points (437) and total touchdowns (60).
Under Wells' tutelage during his first two seasons at Utah State, Keeton has emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the nation and currently ranks first in school history in career completion percentage (.656), fourth in career touchdown passes (38), seventh in career total offense (5,485 yards), and ninth in career passing yards (4,573) and completions (381).
In 2012, Utah State had four offensive players earn first-team all-conference honors, while two others were named to the league's second-team.
Utah State, who officially joined the Mountain West Conference on July 1, 2013, will return 18 starters (8-offense, 7-defense, 3-special teams) and 49 letterwinners (23-offense, 22-defense, 4-special teams) from a group that has won 16 of its last 19 games.
Wells, who has been a part of six bowl teams and two conference championships during his coaching career, came to Utah State after two coaching stints at New Mexico, serving as the Lobos' wide receivers and kickoff return unit coach in 2010 and its wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator from 2007 to 2008. In 2009, Wells served as the quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator at Louisville.
Prior to his first stint at New Mexico, Wells spent five years (2002-06) as the tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Tulsa and five years at the U.S. Naval Academy (1997-2001) as its quarterbacks coach, fullbacks coach and wide receivers coach, while also serving as the junior varsity head coach and offensive coordinator for three years.
Wells, a native of Sallisaw, Okla., received his bachelor's degree in business marketing from Utah State in 1996, graduating cum laude. He and his wife Jen have two daughters, Jadyn (10) and Ella (7), and one son Wyatt (4). His brother, Luke, is Utah State's co-offensive coordinator, tight ends coach, and recruiting coordinator.
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