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The Utah State Aggies beach celebrates a touchdown during the Utah State versus BYU football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)
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Aggies Turn Their Focus To UNLV

The Utah State Aggies beach celebrates a touchdown during the Utah State versus BYU football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

LOGAN, Utah – After a big 45-20 win over in-state rival BYU, the Utah State head coach Matt Wells had plenty of praise to give to his staff and players.

“I’m really proud of our players and assistant coaches,” said Wells “They did a great job of preparation throughout the bye week and BYU week. We prepared really well and had a great game plan. Our guys gave a great effort and executed it to the most part, fairly well.”

That said, Wells is turning his team’s focus on prepping for UNLV.

“The focus will be on us, as well as our opponent because again, we need to sharpen our focus, increase the urgency of our preparation because we are in Mountain West play,” said Wells “UNLV absolutely has our attention and we respect each and every opponent that we play.”

Slowing Down The Runnin’ Rebels

The Rebels are coming into Logan with a home-run threat in running back Lexington Thomas, who rushed for 161 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Aggies in a 52-28 Utah State victory last season.

Though they got the result last season, the Aggie defense is out to slow down Lexington this year.

“It’s a new year,” said junior nose guard Christopher ‘Unga. “We’re ready to show him that it’s not the same team that he played against last year.”

The difference this year, according to ‘Unga, is the experience that comes with the passage of time.

“Last year, we had a very young team. This year, everybody’s comfortable with each other and we know what we’re doing out there.”

The Quarterback Battle

While the Aggies know what to expect with Lexington leading the UNLV rushing game, they’ll have to rely on the Rebels coaching tendencies to get an idea about what they’ll do in the passing game. Starting quarterback Armani Rodgers will be out with a toe injury, so it’ll be sophomore Max Gilliam who gets the nod against Utah State. Last week, in a 50-14 blowout loss to New Mexico, he threw for 123 yards and two touchdowns and an interception on a 42.9 completion percentage.

In contrast, Utah State quarterback Jordan Love had a terrific outing last week against BYU, throwing for 165 yards and four touchdowns at a 64.3 completion clip.

To his receivers, Jordan Love is a dream come true.

“It’s just amazing,” said Jalen Greene. “It helps you sleep at night because that just means he trusts you that much more, especially if he sees double coverage and he’s still trusting you with the ball and with the execution of the play. Jordan’s a very accurate quarterback and has a very strong arm.”

The Aggies and Rebels will kick off their contest Saturday night at 2 p.m. at Maverik Stadium.