Sept. 3, 2012
LOGAN, Utah -
GAME TWO INFORMATION
UTAH at UTAH STATE Date: Friday, Sept. 7, 2012 Kickoff: 6 p.m. Location: Logan, Utah Stadium: Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium (25,513) Series: Utah leads, 77-28-4 TV: ESPN2 Carter Blackburn (Play-by-Play) Rod Gilmore (Analyst) Jemele Hill (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: 1-888-USTATE-1
WHAT TO WATCH FOR...
Utah State will be opening a season with consecutive home games for the 25th time in school history, but for just the third time since the 1954 season. The last time USU started a season with back-to-back home games was in 1996 when it defeated Utah (20-17) and CS Northridge (57-27).
Utah State is 1-0 to start a season for the first time since 1997 when it won at Utah, 21-14. The last time USU started a season 2-0 was that same year as it also defeated Idaho State (41-7) at home.
Utah State is playing Utah for the 110th time in series history, which is the oldest rivalry in school history. USU's second-oldest rival is BYU (81 games). 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.
Utah State has 55 players in its program from the state of Utah, while Utah has 44 players on its roster from the Beehive state.
Utah State head coach Gary Andersen spent 11 years as an assistant at Utah (1997-2002, 2004-08) and two years with the Utes as a player (1985-86). Andersen also earned his bachelors degree in political science from Utah in 1986. All-time, Andersen is 0-1 against Utah losing in Salt Lake City, 35-17, in his first game as USU head coach on Sept. 3, 2009.
Utah State will be looking for its seventh-straight regular season win dating back to 2011 and that six-game regular season winning streak ranks tied for the sixth-longest active streak in the nation along with Baylor. LSU has the longest active regular season winning streak at 13, followed by Georgia (11), Louisiana Tech (7), TCU (7), Virginia Tech (7), USU and Baylor.
Utah State has won each of its last three home games and is 11-7 (.611) at home under Andersen including a 6-1 (.857) non-conference record and a 4-0 mark against in-state opponents. Those six non-conference home wins were against Southern Utah (53-34, 2009), Idaho State (38-17, 2010), BYU (31-16, 2010), Weber State (54-17, 2011), Wyoming (63-19, 2011), and Southern Utah (34-3, 2012), while its lone non-conference home loss was to Colorado State (35-34, 2OT, 2011). All-time, USU is 116-95 (.550) at Romney Stadium.
UTAH STATE CONTINUES 2012 SEASON WITH SECOND-STRAIGHT HOME GAME
Utah State (1-0, 0-0 WAC) continues its 2012 season at home this week as it hosts in-state rival Utah (1-0, 0-0 PAC 12) on Friday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 with Carter Blackburn (play-by-play), Rod Gilmore (analyst) and Jemele Hill (reporter) on the call. Live audio and streaming of the game is also available at www.UtahStateAggies.com. Live stats will be available through GameTracker, while Twitter updates - @USUFootball - will also be a part of Utah State's gameday coverage.
UTAH STATE-UTAH SERIES IN THE FUTURE
Utah State and Utah are schedule to playing one another twice in the next three years as USU will play at Utah in 2013 and at Utah in 2015.
UTAH STATE ON ESPN
Utah State is making its first of two appearances on ESPN/ESPN2 this year as it hosts in-state rival Utah on Friday, Sept. 7. USU will also be on ESPN2 when it plays at BYU on Friday, Oct. 5. Overall, it is the fourth-straight season that Utah State has had at least one game televised nationally on ESPN/ESPN2, including its third at home. Other USU games televised on ESPN/ESPN2 under Andersen including home games against Boise State (2009) and BYU (2010), and road games at Auburn (2011) and BYU (2011), along with its bowl game against Ohio (2011).
AGGIES HAVE PERFORMED WELL AGAINST BCS TEAMS UNDER ANDERSEN
Utah State has been very competitive in games against BCS schools during the last three years under current head coach Gary Andersen. In 2009, USU lost at Texas A&M, 38-30. In 2010, USU lost at then No. 7 Oklahoma, 31-24. And in 2011, USU lost at defending national champion and No. 19 Auburn, 42-38, after leading for the majority of the game.
UTAH STATE AGAINST BCS SCHOOLS
Utah State is 45-173-5 (.213) all-time against current BCS schools with almost half of those games (109) being played against Utah.
BCS SCHOOLS IN LOGAN
Utah becomes just the seventh BCS team to play at Utah State joining Oregon (2001), Oregon State (1998), Kansas State (1992), Arizona State (1951, 1948), Washington State (1950) and Arizona (1948). Current Pac-12 school Colorado has also played in Logan seven times from 1917-1949, but the Buffaloes were a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and the Mountain State/Skyline Conference with USU during that time period.
OPENING AT HOME
For the first time since 1996, Utah State will open a season with back-to-back home games. Overall, it is the first time in Coach Gary Andersen's four years at Utah State and just the 12th time since the 1959 season that USU has started its season at home. Furthermore, USU will be opening a season with consecutive home games for the 25th time in school history, but for just the third time since the 1954 season.
IN-STATE GAMES IN 2012
Utah State is playing its second of three in-state games in 2012 this week as it hosts Utah on Friday, Sept. 7. USU began the year with a 34-3 win at home against Southern Utah and plays at BYU on Friday, Oct. 5. The last time USU played three in-state teams in the same year was during the 2001 campaign when it played at BYU and Utah and hosted Weber State.
LOOKING INSIDE UTAH STATE'S 2012 SCHEDULE
Utah State's 2012 schedule features four teams who played in bowl games a year ago as Utah played in the Sun Bowl (W, 30-27 vs. Georgia Tech); Wisconsin played in the Rose Bowl (L, 45-38 vs. Oregon); BYU played in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (W, 24-21 vs. Tulsa); and Louisiana Tech played in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl (L, 31-24 vs. TCU).
RANKED OPPONENTS ON UTAH STATE'S 2012 SCHEDULE
Wisconsin is the only team on Utah State's 2012 schedule that finished the 2011 season ranked in the top 25 as the Badgers were No. 10 in the final Associated Press Poll, while BYU was ranked first among others receiving votes. Wisconsin enters 2012 ranked 12th in both polls.
A LOOK AT UTAH STATE
Utah State is 1-0 on the year after posting a season-opening 34-3 home win against Southern Utah. Offensively, USU is lead by sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton who is 22-of-25 passing for 304 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Sophomore running back Joe Hill leads the team in rushing with 116 yards on 11 carries with three touchdowns, and senior wide receiver Matt Austin has five catches for 119 yards and one touchdown. Defensively, senior cornerback Terrence Alston, senior safety McKade Brady and junior linebacker Zach Vigil all lead the team with five tackles, while Alston and junior defensive end Connor Williams each have a sack. Redshirt freshman linebacker La'Bradford Harold recorded USU's first turnover of the season with an interception against Southern Utah. As a team, Utah State is averaging 34.0 points and 569 yards of total offense (304-passing, 265-rushing) and allowing just 3.0 points and 209 yards of total offense (153-passing, 56-rushing).
RECAPPING THE SOUTHERN UTAH GAME
Utah State used a pair a 90+ yard scoring drives in the first quarter, scoring on its first three possessions to jump out to a 21-0 lead and cruised to a 34-3 win against Southern Utah Thursday night at Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium in both teams' season-opener. Sophomore running back Joe Hill ran for a career-best 116 yards and three touchdowns as USU won its sixth-straight regular-season game while improving to 37-14-1 when opening a season at home, after losing its previous three home openers to start a season. With Thursday's win, the Aggies improve to 3-0 against the Thunderbirds, and have out-scored them 87-37 in their last two meetings after USU's 53-34 win on Sept. 26, 2009 in Gary Andersen's first home game as USU head coach. The Aggies amassed 569 yards of total offense Thursday night, the 13th-most in school history and the most since last season when USU put up 635 yards on Weber State in its home-opener. The Aggies totalled 265 total rushing yards, as senior running back Kerwynn Williams added 15 carries for 63 yards. Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton was 22-of-25 passing for 304 yards, with two touchdowns, one to senior wide receiver Chuck Jacobs for 48-yards to cap USU's opening scoring drive that ate up 97 yards. Keeton added a 35-yard scoring toss to senior wide receiver Matt Austin on the Aggies' next possession after a 30-yard punt return by Jacobs gave USU the ball at the SUU 45. Keeton's 22 completions and 304 passing yards were both career-highs. On the Aggies' third possession, Hill dashed in from 27-yards out, capping a 98-yard drive for a 21-0 USU lead with 1:01 on the first quarter clock. Austin led USU with five catches for a career-high 119 yards and the one touchdown, while Jacobs tallied four receptions for 64 yards and a score. SUU quarterback Brad Sorensen was 12-of-31 for 153 yards, while getting intercepted by USU redshirt-freshman linebacker La'Bradford Harold in the end zone to end the game. Henna Brown led the T-Birds in rushing with nine carries for 21 yards, while Fatu Moala had five catches for 68 yards. The Aggie defense held its opposition to single-digits for the first time since a 24-9 win against San Jose State on Nov. 7, 2009, and the fewest under head coach Gary Andersen. Senior safety McKade Brady, senior cornerback Terrence Alston and junior linebacker Zach Vigil all posted five tackles, with Alston posting one sack, matching junior defensive end Connor Williams with one sack. Overall, the 209 yards of total offense allowed by USU was its fewest since New Mexico State had just 156 total yards during the 2008 season. The T-Birds were led by Namar Flentroy and Rickey Clark with 13 tackles each. SUU got on the board with 7:49 on the clock in the second quarter on a 22-yard field goal from Colton Cook to make the score 21-3, which it would remain at the half. Utah State took the second-half kickoff and marched down the field, with Hill darting in from 19-yards out to put USU ahead, 28-3, just 3:07 into the second half. Hill capped his three-touchdown outing with a 33-yard scoring scamper with 14:51 left in the fourth quarter, but the PAT failed.
UTAH STATE BEGINS 2012 SEASON WITH A WIN
With its 34-3 win against Southern Utah on Aug. 30, Utah State won its season opener for the first time since 1997 when it defeated Utah on the road, 21-14. USU's last home win to start a season was in 1996 when it defeated Utah, 20-17.
UTAH STATE HAS WON ITS LAST SIX REGULAR SEASON GAMES
With its 34-3 win against Southern Utah in its season opener last Thursday, Utah State has now won each of its last six regular season games, which is tied for the sixth-longest active regular season winning streak in the nation. USU ended the 2011 regular season with wins at Hawai`i (35-31), against San Jose State (34-33), at Idaho (49-42 2OT), to Nevada (21-17) and at New Mexico State (24-21).
UTAH STATE HAS WON ITS LAST THREE HOME GAMES
Utah State has won each of its last three home games, which is its longest home winning streak since winning three-straight home games during the 2004-05 seasons. Overall, USU is 11-7 at home under Andersen, which includes a 6-1 non-conference record and a 4-0 mark against in-state opponents.
UTAH STATE CONTINUES SUCCESS AGAINST FCS TEAMS
Utah State improved to 77-17-6 (.800) all-time against current members of the Big Sky Conference, including a 4-0 record under Andersen, with its 34-3 win against Southern Utah. WIth its win against SUU, USU improved to 3-0 all-time against the Thunderbirds and has now won 10 of its last 11 games against Football Championship Series (FCS) teams, including six straight. All-time, USU is now 213-76-12 (.728) against current FCS teams.
UTAH STATE'S DEFENSE ALLOWS ONLY THREE POINTS IN SEASON OPENER
Utah State's defense allowed just three points and 209 yards of total offense (153-passing, 56-rushing) in its season-opening 34-3 home win against Southern Utah Thursday night. Those three points allowed are the fewest in the Andersen era and the fewest allowed since USU defeated New Mexico State at home, 47-2, on Nov. 29, 2008. USU's previous low for points allowed in a game under Andersen was in a 24-9 home win against San Jose State (11/14/09).
UTAH STATE'S DEFENSE LIMITS SOUTHERN UTAH TO 209 YARDS OF TOTAL OFFENSE
Utah State's defense had its best game statistically under Andersen as its 209 yards allowed to Southern Utah are the fewest in the Andersen era and the fewest since New Mexico State gained just 156 yards on Nov. 29, 2008 in Logan. Furthermore, the 56 rushing yards by SUU are the fewest since San Jose State rushed for just 54 yards in Logan in 2011, and the 153 passing yards are the fewest since Louisiana Tech threw for just 146 yards in Logan also in 2011.
UTAH STATE'S OFFENSE PICKS UP RIGHT WERE IT LEFT OFF IN 2011
After setting school records for total offense (5,945 yards), rushing yards (3,675), total points (437) and total touchdowns (60) in 2011, Utah State began the 2012 season with another impressive offensive performance as its 569 yards of total offense (304-passing, 265-rushing) ranks tied for the 15th-most in a single-game in school history and the most since it had 635 yards of total offense against Weber State in 2011. Furthermore, USU's 304 passing yards are its most since passing for 399 yards at Nevada in 2010.
UTAH STATE HAS ANOTHER 100-YARD RUSHER
With sophomore running back Joe Hills' 116 rushing yards against Southern Utah in its season opener, USU has now had a 100-yard rusher in each of its last three games dating back to the 2011 season, and the last time it did not have a player rush for 100-yards was against Nevada on Nov. 26, 2011. During the 2011 season, USU had a 100-yard rusher in nine of its 13 games.
AGGIES IN SEPTEMBER
Utah State is 3-8 in September under Andersen, including a 3-2 record at home. USU is also 2-4 in non-Saturday games under Andersen, including an 1-3 mark on Fridays as three of those games were against BYU, while the other was versus Boise State. USU is also 2-2 all-time in games played on Sept. 7.
RANKING UTAH STATE IN THE WAC
As of Sept. 2, Utah State ranks first in the WAC in rushing yards per game (265.0), first in total offense (569.0), first in total defense (209.0), first in scoring defense (3.0), first in rushing defense (56.0), first in kickoff returns (22.0), first in punt returns (20.0), first in pass defense efficiency (73.7), second in scoring offense (34.0), second in pass offense (304.0), second in pass efficiency (204.4), third in pass defense (153.0) and fifth in net punting (33.3). USU also ranks first in the WAC in first downs (28), first in third-down conversion percentage (.667), first in first downs allowed (12) and second in time of possession (33:35).
UTAH STATE PLAYERS IN THE WAC RANKINGS
After one week of play, sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks second in the WAC in passing yards per game (304.0), second in total offense (307.0) and second in pass efficiency (208.5). Sophomore running back Joe Hill ranks tied for first in the WAC in scoring (18.0), second in rushing yards per game (116.0), third in all-purpose yards per game (133.0) and seventh in total offense (116.0). Senior wide receiver Chuck Jacobs leads the WAC in punt return average (20.0), is fourth in all-purpose yards per game (125.0), seventh in reception yards (64.0), seventh in receptions per game (4.0) and tied for eighth in scoring (6.0). Senior wide receiver Matt Austin ranks second in receiving yards per game (119.0), is fifth in receptions per game (5.0), fifth in all-purpose yards per game (119.0) and tied for eighth in scoring (6.0). Senior punter Tyler Bennett ranks third in punting (40.5). Senior running back Kerwynn Williams ranks fifth in rushing yards per game (63.0) and junior running back Robert Marshall ranks sixth in rushing yards per game (53.0). Redshirt freshman linebacker La'Bradford Harold is one of five players in the WAC to record an interception in week one.
UTAH STATE IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
As of Sept. 3, Utah State ranks fifth in the nation in passing efficiency (204.4), sixth in scoring defense (3.0), 12th in total offense (569.0), 12th in punt returns (20.0), 13th in total defense (209.0), 13th in passing efficiency defense (73.70), 16th in rushing defense (56.0), 19th in rushing offense (265.0), 22nd in passing offense (304.0) and 27th in passing defense (153.0). Individually, sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton ranks sixth in passing efficiency (208.5), tied for 15th in passing (304.0) and 22nd in total offense (307.0). Sophomore running back Joe Hill ranks tied for first in scoring (18.0) and tied for 31st in rushing (116.0). Senior wide receiver Chuck Jacobs ranks 10th in punt returns (20.0), and senior wide receiver Matt Austin ranks tied for 15th in receiving (19.0).
YOUNG AGGIES GAIN EXPERIENCE IN SEASON OPENER
Of the 66 players that saw action for Utah State in its season opener against Southern Utah, 26 were underclassmen including four true freshmen (K. Lee, L. Malohifo'ou, B. Natson, B. Warren), seven redshirt freshmen (K. Fackrell, T. Fisilau, L. Harold, D. Keller, J. Nielsen, T. Seefeldt, B. Swindall), and 15 sophomores (K. Andersen, J. Bentrude, C. Harrison, J. Haueter, J. Hill, J. Jenkins, E. Kamana-Matagi, C. Keeton, T. McMillian, N. Needham, R. Stewart, B. Suite, F. Sutera, A. Wheat, Jr., Kevin Whimpey). Furthermore, of the 66 players that Utah State played in its season opener against Southern Utah, 22 were playing in their first-ever Division I game, while 11 were playing in their first-ever collegiate game.
AGGIES START TRUE FRESHMAN PLACEKICKER
One of the four true freshmen to play for Utah State in its season-opener against Southern Utah was placekicker Brock Warren who was 4-of-4 on extra points in the game and kicked off three times. The last time USU started a true freshman placekicker was Peter Caldwell in 2007.
OTHER FIRST TIME AGGIE STARTERS
Along with freshman placekicker Brock Warren, Utah State had five other players who made their first career start against Southern Utah in its season opener in senior defensive lineman Havea Lasike; junior offensive guard Kyle Whimpey; junior linebacker Zach Vigil; sophomore safety Frankie Sutera; and redshirt freshman linebacker Kyler Fackrell.
FROM WALK-ON TO STARTER IN TWO WEEKS
Sophomore safety Frankie Sutera has taken full advantage of his opportunity to play college football as the former walk-on received a scholarship during the second week of fall camp in 2012 and then started USU's first game of the year against Southern Utah. Senior wide receiver Cameron Webb also received a scholarship during fall camp and caught two passes for seven yards in the season opener against the Thunderbirds.
AGGIES SNARE FIRST INTERCEPTION OF THE SEASON AGAINST SOUTHERN UTAH
During the 2011 season, Utah State did not record its first interception until the fifth game of the year against Wyoming. In 2012, USU snared an interception in its first game as redshirt freshman linebacker La'Bradford Harold intercepted SUU's Brad Sorensen in the end zone on the final play of the game.
UTAH STATE EXPLODES FOR 21 FIRST QUARTER POINTS IN SEASON OPENER
Utah State scored touchdowns on its first three possessions of the 2012 season and finished the first quarter with 21 points, which are the most points scored by USU in any quarter since its 28-point second quarter against Wyoming in 2011. The last time Utah State scored at least 21 first quarter points was at Idaho on Nov. 28, 2009.
UTAH STATE STARTS 2012 WITH TWO 90 YARD SCORING DRIVES
Utah State began the 2012 season with a pair of 90+ scoring drives in the opening quarter against Southern Utah as its first drive of the game was an 11-play, 97-yard touchdown drive, and its third drive was a 9-play, 98-yard touchdown drive. During the 2011 season, USU had five drives that went 90+ yards, all ending in a touchdown.
AGGIES CONTROL BALL AND CONVERT THIRD DOWNS AGAINST SOUTHERN UTAH
Utah State controlled the ball and converted third downs in its season opener against Southern Utah as it had the ball for 33:35 and was 8-of-12 on third down. Conversely, USU's defense limited SUU to just 3-of-15 on its third downs.
KEETON SETS SINGLE-GAME SCHOOL RECORD FOR COMPLETION PERCENTAGE
Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton set a single-game school record in his season debut against Southern Utah as he completed 88.0 percent of his passes as he was 22-of-25 for a career-high 304 yards and two touchdowns. Those 22 completions were also a career-high. The previous school record for single-game completion percentage was 87.5 percent set by Riley Nelson against San Jose State in 2006 as he completed 21-of-24 passes. It was also the first time USU has had a 300-yard passer since Diondre Borel threw for 399 yards at Nevada on 10/30/10.
HILL HAS CAREER NIGHT AGAINST SOUTHERN UTAH
Sophomore running back Joe Hill had a career night against Southern Utah as he came off the bench to rush for a career-high 116 yards on a career-high 11 carries, and scored a career-high three touchdowns. In the game, Hill had touchdown runs of 27, 19 and 33 yards. Overall, it was Hill's first-career 100-yard game as he averaged 10.5 yards per carry against the Thunderbirds.
AUSTIN TAKING ADVANTAGE OF EXTRA YEAR
After receiving an extra year of eligibility, senior wide receiver Matt Austin had his first career 100-yard receiving game with five catches for 119 yards including a 35-yard touchdown against Southern Utah. Overall, it was USU's first 100-yard receiving game since Stanley Morrison caught two passes for 105 yards at Hawai`i in 2011.
Kerwynn Williams HOLDS WAC'S CAREER KICK RETURN YARDS RECORD
Senior running back/kick returner Kerwynn Williams broke the WAC's career kick return yards record during the 2011 season and he enters the 2012 season with 3,349 career kick return yards. His career average of 25.3 yards per return ranks fourth all-time in school history. Williams currently ranks fifth all-time at Utah State with 3,470 career all-purpose yards and is 1,733 yards shy of tying Louie Giammona (1973-75) for fourth all-time with 5,203 career all-purpose yards.
UTAH STATE RETURNS EXPERIENCED OFFENSIVE LINE
Utah State returns a great deal of starting experience on the offensive line highlighted by first-team all-WAC junior center Tyler Larsen (6-4, 312), and senior offensive tackles Eric Schultz (6-4, 303) and Oscar Molina-Sanchez (6-5, 299) who have 67 combined starts between the three of them, including a combined 60 consecutive starts, as Larsen has made all of his 26 starts in a row, while Schultz has 20 straight starts and Molina-Sanchez has 14 starts in a row of his 21 total starts.
UTAH STATE COACHING CHANGES FOR 2012
Utah State head coach Gary Andersen made some changes to his staff following the 2011 season as quarterbacks coach Matt Wells was promoted to offensive coordinator, replacing Dave Baldwin, and former UNLV head coach Mike Sanford was hired as an assistant head coach working with the running backs and tight ends. Changes on the defensive side of the ball include hiring former Hawai`i defensive coordinator Dave Aranda as USU's defensive coordinator, a position that was held by Andersen last season.
EIGHTH AND FINAL YEAR IN THE WESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE
Utah State is entering its eighth and final year as a member of the Western Athletic Conference as it will officially join the Mountain West Conference on July 1, 2013. In its first seven years in the WAC, USU has posted an 18-37 (.327) mark. Prior to joining the WAC, Utah State was a member of the Sun Belt Conference from 2003-04 and spent two years as a independent (2001-02). USU was also a member of the PCAA/Big West Conference (1978-2000), the Mountain States Conference/Skyline (1938-61), and the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (1916-37).
UTAH STATE PLAYING ON A NEW TURF IN 2012
Utah State is playing on a new surface this fall after the installation of AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D60 Extreme this past summer. USU's old synthetic Sprinturf had been in place since the 2004 season.
AGGIES IN THE CLASSROOM
Utah State has had 66 players earn academic all-WAC honors and 84 players have graduated from Utah State University in Andersen's first three years as head coach. In 2011, USU had a WAC-leading 18 academic all-WAC honorees.
DID YOU KNOW?
Junior defensive lineman Connor Williams (Kanata, Ontario) is one of 46 Canadians currently on Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) rosters.
A LOOK AT UTAH
Utah is 1-0 on the season after posting a 41-0 home win against Northern Colorado in its season opener. Offensively, UU is lead by junior quarterback Jordan Wynn who is 19-of-27 passing for 200 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Senior running back John White leads the team in rushing with 119 yards on 24 carries with one touchdown, and sophomore tight end Jake Murphy has six catches for 78 yards with two touchdowns. Defensively, senior linebacker Dave Fagergren leads the team with six tackles, while junior defensive back Quade Chappuis has five tackles. As a team, Utah is averaging 41.0 points and 414 yards of total offense (221-passing, 193-rushing) and allowing 0.0 points and just 114 yards of total offense (79-passing, 35-rushing). Overall, Utah returns 18 starters (O-9, D-7, S-2) and 55 lettermen (O-25, D-26, S-4) from last year's team that went 8-5 overall, finished in a tie for third-place in the South Division of the Pac-12 Conference with a 4-5 mark, and defeated Georgia Tech, 30-27 OT, in the 2011 Sun Bowl. Kyle Whittingham is 67-25 in his eight year as the Utes head coach.
AGGIES AND UTES
Utah State trails in the all-time series against Utah, 28-77-4, including an 11-25 record at home. Overall, Utah has won each of the last 12 games played in the series including a 35-17 win in Salt Lake City on Sept. 3, 2009 in the last meeting between the two teams. The last time USU hosted UU was on Sept. 13, 2008 with the Utes winning, 58-10. The last time Utah State won a game in the series was on Aug. 30, 1997 in Salt Lake City, 20-17, and the last time in defeated Utah at home was on Aug. 31, 1996, 20-17. In all, Utah has won each of the last six games played in Logan.
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 109 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 (111) 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 COACHING STAFF CONNECTIONS WITH UTAH
Utah State has several other connections with Utah in addition to Gary Andersen who spent 11 years as an assistant at Utah (1997-2002, 2004-08) and two years with the Utes as a player (1985-86). USU associate head coach Bill Busch spent three years at Utah (2001-03) as the safeties and secondary coach. USU assistant head coach Mike Sanford spent two years at Utah (2003-04) as the offensive coordinator and running backs coach helping the Utes to a 35-7 win against Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl following the 2004 season. USU linebackers coach Kevin Clune was a graduate assistant at Utah for two years (2001-02). USU defensive graduate assistant Spencer Toone was a three-year starter at Utah (2003-05) at rover and earned first-team all-Mountain West honors in 2005 as he tied for the league lead in tackles with 113. Toone, who graduated from Utah in 2005 with a degree in speech communication science, was a three-time academic all-MWC honoree and a second-team CoSIDA Academic All-American as a senior. USU defensive administrative assistant Kite Afeaki played for two years at Utah (2004-05) on the defensive line and graduated from Utah with a degree in sociology in 2006.
MORE UTAH STATE CONNECTIONS WITH UTAH
Senior linebacker Forrest Dabb redshirted at Utah in 2007 before transferring to Utah State. USU freshman linebacker Sharrieff Shah's dad (Sharrieff) is the cornerbacks coach at Utah. UU defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a spent two years at Utah State (2009-10) as the defensive line coach. UU fullbacks and tight ends 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.
UTAH STATE VERSUS THE PAC-12 CONFERENCE
Utah State is 39-120-5 (.253) all-time against current members of the Pac-12 Conference with a 28-77-4 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). The last time a Pac-12 team visited Logan was on Sept. 29, 2001 when it lost to sixth-ranked Oregon, 38-21.
COACH ANDERSEN VERSUS THE PAC-12 CONFERENCE
Gary Andersen will be facing his first Pac-12 opponent as Utah State head coach this weekend. As an assistant at Utah, Andersen helped the Utes to a 5-8 record against Pac-12 schools, and as a player at Utah, the Utes went 1-2 versus the Pac-12 Conference.
LAST MEETING AGAINST UTAH - (#19 UU 35, USU 17)
September 3, 2009 Salt Lake City, Utah Rice-Eccles Stadium 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 Thursday 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's 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 to make the score 14-10 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 three-play, seven-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 RETURNS PLENTY OF TALENT IN 2012
Utah State returns 19 starters (O-8, D-6, S-5) and 44 lettermen (O-19, D-20, S-5) from last year's team that finished with a 7-6 record and tied for second-place in the Western Athletic Conference with a 5-2 mark as it participated in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (L, 24-23 vs. Ohio), its first bowl game since 1997. Highlighting Utah State's returners is junior center Tyler Larsen who earned first-team all-WAC honors a year ago. Along with Larsen, USU returns seven other starters on offense (WR-Matt Austin; WR-Chuck Jacobs; QB-Chuckie Keeton; QB-Adam Kennedy; LT-Oscar Molina-Sanchez; RT-Eric Schultz; RB/KR-Kerwynn Williams), six starters on defense (FS-McKade Brady; LB-Bojay Filimoeatu; DT-Al Lapuaho; CB-Nevin Lawson; LB-Tavaris McMillian; CB-Jumanne Robertson) and five special teams starters (P-Tyler Bennett; PK/H-Jaron Bentrude; KO-Jacob Haueter; LS-Nate Needham; PK-Josh Thompson).
Along with playing in its first bowl game in over a decade during the 2011 season, Utah State's seven overall wins and five league victories were its most since 1993, while its second-place conference finish was its best since the 2000 team ended the year second in the Big West. Furthermore, those five league wins in 2011 were tied with five other teams (1953, 1960, 1990, 1991, 1993) for the most in school history, while its seven overall wins are tied for the 10th most all-time at USU. Utah State also won its final five games of the regular season in 2011, which is tied for the eighth-longest winning streak in school history and the longest since the 1993 squad won its final six games of the year. USU's three-win turnaround from four wins in 2010 to seven wins in 2011 was among the top 15 in the Football Bowl Subdivision for the year.
WHAT UTAH STATE MUST REPLACE IN 2012
Utah State lost five players who earned all-WAC honors in 2011 highlighted by senior running back Robert Turbin who was named the WAC's Offensive Player of the Year. Senior offensive lineman Philip Gapelu and senior linebacker Bobby Wagner both earned first-team all-WAC honors, while senior tight end Tarren Lloyd and senior defensive end Levi Koskan were both named to the second-team. Other offensive starters lost include guards Robert Hill and Funaki Asisi, wide receivers Stanley Morrison and Eric Moats, and running back Michael Smith. Other defensive starters lost include end Quinn Garner, linebacker Kyle Gallagher and safety Alfred Bowden.
THREE AGGIES SELECTED IN 2012 NFL DRAFT
Utah State had three players selected in the 2012 NFL Draft as linebacker Bobby Wagner was chosen in the second round (47) by the Seattle Seahawks, while running back Robert Turbin was chosen in the fourth round (106) by the Seattle Seahawks and fellow running back Michael Smith was picked in the seventh round (212) by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
UTAH STATE MUST REPLACE 2011 WAC OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Junior running back Robert Turbin was named the WAC's Offensive Player of the Year in 2011, marking the first time in its seven years in the league and just the second time in school history that USU has had an offensive player of the year in its league joining Kendall Smith (WR) who was the Big West Conference Offensive MVP in 1988. Turbin rushed for 1,517 yards and led the WAC in scoring with 23 touchdowns and 138 points in 2011. The junior finished his career as the school's all-time leader in scoring with 308 points and total touchdowns with 51.
WAGNER LEAVES UTAH STATE AS A THREE-TIME FIRST-TEAM ALL-WAC SELECTION
Linebacker Bobby Wagner earned first-team all-WAC honors each of his final three seasons at Utah State and is one of just eight players in school history to be a three-time first-team all-conference selection. Wagner ended his career with 446 career tackles to rank first all-time in WAC and tied for first all-time in school history.
PRESEASON NATIONAL WATCH LISTS
The following is a list of current Utah State players who are listed among various watch lists for the National College Football Awards Association.
Doak Walker Award Kerwynn Williams (Sr., RB) Lombardi Award Tyler Larsen (Jr., C) Outland Trophy Tyler Larsen (Jr., C) Rimington Trophy Tyler Larsen (Jr., C) Ray Guy Award Tyler Bennett (Sr., P)UTAH STATE WINS THREE TIMES IN 2011 DESPITE DOUBLE-DIGIT DEFICIT
Utah State was the cardiac kids of college football in 2011 fighting back from double-digit deficits three times for wins. Its first comeback was at Hawai`i as it trailed 28-7 at the half before winning 35-31. USU then trailed San Jose State at home, 33-21, before scoring the final 13 points. Also at home, USU trailed Nevada, 10-0, before posting a 21-17 win. Overall, USU has won six games in the last two years despite trailing by double digits.
UTAH STATE SETS NUMEROUS OFFENSIVE RECORDS IN 2011
Utah State had an outstanding season offensively in 2011 as it established school records for total offense (5,945 yards), rushing yards (3,675), total points (437) and total touchdowns (60). USU's 37 rushing touchdowns in 2011 were the second-most in school history trailing the 1961 team who still holds the school record at 39. USU also rushed for more than 3,000 yards for just the second time in school history in 2011 and recorded 2,000-plus yards in each of the last three years after a 34-year hiatus from 1975-2009.
THE TEAM WITH THE BALL LAST WINS
Utah State gave new meaning to the phrase `Whoever has the ball last wins' during the 2011 season as seven of its 13 games were decided in the last minute of a game or overtime. Overall, USU was 4-3 in 2011 in games decided in the last minute or in overtime scoring the winning touchdown at Hawai`i (35-31) with 14 seconds to play; scoring the winning touchdown against San Jose State (34-33) with 47 second to play: defeating Idaho (49-42) in double overtime; and scoring the winning touchdown at New Mexico State (24-21) with 35 seconds to play. USU's losses at the end of games or in overtime were to Colorado State (35-34) in double overtime, at BYU (27-24) who scored the winning touchdown with 11 seconds to play and to Ohio (24-23) who scored its winning touchdown with 13 seconds remaining.
UTAH STATE PLAYED IN 10 GAMES IN 2011 DECIDED BY ONE SCORE
Utah State was in a nation-leading 10 games that were decided by one score or less in 2011 as it began the year losing to Auburn, 42-38. USU then lost to Colorado State, 35-34, in 2OT, lost at BYU, 27-24, and lost to Louisiana Tech, 24-17, before breaking through with a 35-31 win at Hawai`i, and following it up with a wild 34-33 win against San Jose State. USU then posted a 49-42 double overtime victory at Idaho, followed by its 21-17 win against Nevada and its 24-21 victory at New Mexico State. USU ended its season with a 24-23 loss to Ohio in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
TURNOVERS NOT ON UTAH STATE'S MENU IN 2011
During the 2011 season, Utah State threw just six interceptions which was tied for the seventh-fewest in the nation at the FBS level and its four picks on defense were tied for the third-fewest in the country. Overall, USU led the nation in fewest combined interceptions both thrown and caught with 10.
MORE ON UTAH STATE'S OFFENSE IN 2011
Utah State averaged 282.7 rushing yards per game in 2011 to rank second all-time in school history behind the 1960 team that averaged 312.0 rushing yards per game. USU also averaged 457.3 total yards of offense in 2011 to also rank second all-time in school history behind the 1996 team that averaged 468.5 yards of total offense per game. And finally, USU's 33.6 points per game average in 2011 tied the 1997 team for second all-time in school history behind the 1961 team that averaged 38.7 points per game.
UTAH STATE'S DEFENSE CONTINUED ITS IMPROVEMENT UNDER ANDERSEN IN 2011
Utah State's defense ended the 2011 season ranking first in the WAC and 50th in the nation in total defense (366.23 ypg), second in the WAC and 31st in the nation in rushing defense (127.70 ypg), second in the WAC and 53rd nationally in tackles for loss (5.92 pg), third in the WAC and 48th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (125.58), and third in the WAC and 59th in the nation in sacks (1.92 pg). Overall, USU's 366.2 yards allowed on defense was its best since 1998 (319.9), while its 127.8 rushing yards allowed per game in 2011 was its fewest since 1998 (123.4).
USU SPECIAL TEAMS MUCH IMPROVED IN 2011
Utah State's special teams ranked fourth in the WAC and 29th in the nation in 2011 in net punting (38.20 ypp), third in the WAC and 39th in the nation in kickoff returns (22.80 ypr), and seventh in the WAC and 67th in the nation in punt returns (7.81 ypr). As a team, Utah State's net punting average improved 49 spots in the nation from 2010, ranking No. 29 in 2011 with a 38.20 net average after ranking No. 78 in 2010 with a net average of 35.49.
HEAD COACH Gary Andersen
Gary Andersen was named Utah State's 26th head coach on Dec. 4, 2008, and since that day Andersen and his staff have worked non-stop to create a culture of accountability and responsibility that would translate into success both on and off the field. And in 2011, Aggie fans saw that plan pay dividends as USU produced a 7-6 record (5-2 Western Athletic Conference) and participated in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, the school's first bowl game since 1997.
In his first three years at Utah State, Andersen has compiled a 15-22 (.407) record including a 10-13 (.435) WAC mark as those 15 wins are the most by an Aggie coach in his first three years since John L. Smith went 16-18 (.471) from 1995-97. Furthermore, Andersen has coached 10 players who have earned first or second team all-WAC honors and six players who are currently on NFL rosters, including Michael Smith, Robert Turbin and Bobby Wagner who were all selected in the 2012 NFL Draft. That trio of Aggies drafted in 2012 is the most selections in one year since five USU players were chosen in 1980. Wagner, who was drafted in the second round (47) by the Seattle Seahawks, becomes the highest drafted Aggie since Rulon Jones was the 42nd overall pick in the second round in 1980 by the Denver Broncos.
Along with playing in its first bowl game in over a decade during the 2011 season, Utah State's seven overall wins and five league victories were its most since 1993, while its second-place conference finish was its best since the 2000 team ended the year second in the Big West. Furthermore, those five league wins in 2011 were tied with five other teams (1953, 1960, 1990, 1991, 1993) for the most in school history, while its seven overall wins are tied for the 10th most all-time at Utah State.
Utah State also won its final five games of the regular season in 2011, which is tied for the eighth-longest winning streak in school history and the longest since the 1993 squad won its final six games of the year. USU's three-win turnaround from four wins in 2010 to seven wins in 2011 was among the top 15 in the Football Bowl Subdivision for the year.
During the 2011 season, Andersen's high-octane spread offense was statistically one of the best in the country as it led the WAC and ranked sixth in the nation in rushing offense (282.69 ypg). USU also ranked first in the WAC and 18th in the nation in passing efficiency (151.8), first in the WAC and 23rd in the nation in scoring offense (33.62 ppg), second in the WAC and 20th in the nation in total offense (457.31 ypg), and second in the WAC and 33rd in the nation in fewest sacks allowed per game (1.38 pg).
In 2011, Utah State also established school records for total offense (5,945 yards), rushing yards (3,675), total points (437) and total touchdowns (60).
Highlighting Utah State's offense in 2011 was junior running back Robert Turbin who ended the season as the WAC's Offensive Player of the Year, USU's first in its six years in the league, and just its second such offensive award in school history. During the season, Turbin ranked first in the WAC and eighth in the nation in scoring (10.62 ppg), second in the WAC and 13th in the nation in rushing (116.69 ypg), and sixth in the WAC and 40th in the nation in all-purpose yardage (129.85 ypg). He ended the year setting single-season school records for rushing touchdowns (19), total touchdowns (23) and points scored (138), while his 1,517 rushing yards rank third all-time at USU for a single-season.
Turbin, who was drafted in the fourth round (106) of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks, ended his Aggie career ranking first in both total touchdowns (51) and points scored (308), while his 3,315 career rushing yards ranks fifth all-time in school history.
Andersen's defense was also formidable during the 2011 season as it ended the year ranking first in the WAC and 50th in the nation in total defense (366.23), second in the WAC and 31st in the nation in rushing defense (127.70 ypg), second in the WAC and 53rd nationally in tackles for loss (5.92 pg), third in the WAC and 48th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (125.58), and third in the WAC and 59th in the nation in sacks (1.92 pg).
Utah State's top defensive player in 2011 was Wagner who earned first-team all-WAC honors after ranking first in the league and eighth nationally with 11.31 tackles per game. Wagner, who is one of just eight players in school history to be a three-time first-team all-conference selection, ended his career with 446 career tackles to rank first all-time in WAC and tied for first all-time in school history.
Along with all of his Utah State accolades, Wagner also received some national exposure after being named the Most Valuable Player of the 2012 Senior Bowl, leading the North to a 23-13 win. Smith was also recognized for his performance in the Players Classic All-Star Game as he was named the North's Offensive MVP.
Other Aggies to earn first-team all-WAC honors under Andersen's tutelage include offensive linemen Philip Gapelu (2011) and Tyler Larsen (2011), while those who have been named to the league's second-team include defensive end Levi Koskan (2011), tight end Tarren Lloyd (2011), defensive back Curtis Marsh (2010) and Turbin (2009).
Along with all of Utah State's success on the field under Andersen, there has been just as much success in the classroom as 66 Aggies have earned academic all-WAC honors, while another 84 have graduated from the University. Furthermore, Utah State had 18 football players earn academic all-WAC honorees this past year to rank first in the conference.
Andersen came to Utah State after five seasons as the assistant head coach, defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Utah, where he helped guide the Utes to a 13-0 record in 2008. Utah finished the season ranked No. 2 in the Associated Press poll after winning the BCS Sugar Bowl with a dominating 31-17 victory against Alabama.
In 2008, Andersen was named a finalist for the Broyles Award, honoring the top assistant coach in college football. He was also named a Rivals.com top 10 non-BCS recruiter in 2008 and tabbed as the No. 1 non-BCS recruiter by Rivals.com in 2005.
Overall, Andersen spent 11 seasons as an assistant coach at Utah after coaching for the Utes from 1997-2002 before becoming the head coach at Southern Utah in 2003 and then returning to Utah in 2004. During his tenure at Utah, Andersen was a part of seven winning bowl teams, including two BCS Bowls as Utah went 12-0 in 2004 and won the Fiesta Bowl, along with its perfect record and Sugar Bowl win in 2008.
During his tenure at Utah, Andersen coached 14 first-team all-conference players (three in 2008), including two Mountain West Conference Defensive Players of the Year in John Frank (1999) and Eric Weddle (2005 and 2006), as well as a consensus All-American in Weddle in 2006. Andersen also coached 10 Ute players drafted in the NFL in Richard Seals, John Frank, Lauvale Sape, Sione Pouha, Jonathan Fanene, Eric Weddle, Paul Soliai, Sean Smith, Brice McCain and Paul Kruger, in addition to several other players who made NFL rosters as free agents.
Andersen's coaching career began in 1988 as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Southeastern Louisiana, where he coached for one season before going to Ricks College (now BYU-Idaho) from 1989-92 as the offensive line coach. His other coaching stints include Idaho State (1992-94, defensive line), Park City HS (1994-95, head coach) and Northern Arizona (1995-96, assistant head coach/defensive line/special teams).
A 1986 graduate of Utah, Andersen earned his bachelor's degree in political science. He played center for Utah from 1985-86 after garnering first-team junior college All-American honors in 1984 at Ricks College.
Andersen is married to the former Stacey Lambert, and they have three sons: Keegan (21) and twins Chasen and Hagen (17). Keegan is currently a sophomore tight end on Utah State's football team, while Chasen and Hagen are both seniors at Logan High School. Andersen's brother, Mark, is USU's director of football operations.
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