Way-Too-Early Look At Utah State’s 2019 Season

Dec 18, 2018, 11:14 AM | Updated: 11:58 am
Jordan Love vs. Boise State #2...
Quarterback Jordan Love #10 of the Utah State Aggies gets a pass off under pressure from linebacker Curtis Weaver #99 of the Boise State Broncos during second half action on November 24, 2018 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won the game 33-24. (Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images)

LOGAN, Utah – After a historic 11-win season that tied the school record while appearing in their seventh bowl game in the last eight seasons, Utah State is already looking forward to the 2019 season.

The Aggies will be returning some key starters that include quarterback Jordan Love, running backs Darwin Thompson and Gerold Bright as well as linebacker David Woodward.

Their historic season led to their head coach Matt Wells taking a job with Texas Tech in the Big 12 conference, which set up a reunion with Gary Andersen returning to Logan for the second time as head coach.

In 2019, the Aggies will play four non-conference games that feature two power-5 teams and rival BYU to go with an FCS team.

After falling one game short of hosting their first ever Mountain West Conference Championship game, Utah State will look to take the crown in 2019 when they play eight conference games. That slate includes defending Champions Fresno State as well as Boise State.

Non-Conference Opponents

Wake Forest, Away, August 30

The season opener will be on the road against the Deamon Deacons out of the ACC. Utah State is 1-1 against Wake Forest with the Aggies winning the first meeting 36-24 in 2014 at home and the Demon Deacons taking the 2017 game at home 46-10.

Quarterback Kent Myers #2 of the Utah State Aggies runs the football against defensive back Jessie Bates III #3 of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons during the football game at BB&T Field on September 16, 2017 in Winston Salem, North Carolina. (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)

Wake Forest finished with a 6-6 record during the regular season and 3-5 in the ACC. They finished sixth in the Atlantic division. They will return freshman quarterback Sam Hartman next season as well as junior running back Cade Carney.

Their leading tackler in linebacker Justin Strnad will return next season as he is a redshirt junior.


Stony Brook, Home, September 7

The Seawolves were eliminated from the FCS Playoffs in the first round after losing to Southeast Missouri. They finished with a 7-5 record. This is their one FCS game on their schedule for 2019. The Aggies beat Tennessee Tech 73-12 in 2018.


LSU, Away, October 5

This is their annual “money” game that Utah State plays every year. They played Michigan State in 2018 and will face LSU in 2019 and Alabama in 2022.

The Tigers will play No. 7 UCF in the Fiesta Bowl on January 1 after they finished with a 9-3 record and 5-3 in the SEC which was good for third place in the west division.

Utah State is 0-2 against LSU with a 38-17 loss in 1993 and 31-14 defeat in 2001, both on the road.

LSU will return starting quarterback and Ohio State transfer Joe Burrow, he threw for 2,500 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2018. Sophomore wide receiver Justin Jefferson will return after leading the Tigers in catches and yards with 50 receptions for 788 yards and four touchdowns.

It looks like junior linebacker Devin White will not be back for the 2019 season because he is projected to go in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. But LSU, known for their tough and physical defense will reload and look to cause problems for Utah State’s offense.


BYU, Home, November 2

Utah State is 37-48-3 in the battle for the old wagon wheel. The Aggies have won the last two meetings and three of the last five matchups. Utah State won in Provo 45-20 in 2018 and 40-24 in 2017 in Logan.

BYU finished the regular season with a 6-6 record and will play Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The next three seasons look good for the Cougars on offense as they will return quarterback Zach Wilson who played half of the 2018 season as a freshman.

They will also have the services of wide receivers Aleva Hifo, Gunner Romney, Talon Shumway and tight end Matt Bushman. Also, two young offensive linemen in Brady Christensen and James Empey. Running back Lopini Katoa will be back after a fantastic freshman season in 2018.

On defense, the Cougars will have linebackers Zayne Anderson and Isaiah Kaufusi. Defensive backs Dayan Ghanwoloku and Austin Lee will both be entering their senior season in 2019.

Conference Opponents

The dates for conference games will be determined but the Aggies at least know who they will face and where.

Air Force, Away

Utah State won their third straight game in 2018 after they beat Air Force at home 42-32, snapping a three-game losing streak to the Falcons. Next season will be the eighth meeting between the Falcons and Aggies with Air Force holding a 4-3 record.

The Falcons won the first meeting in 1969, 38-13 at home. Utah State won the next two meetings starting with a 52-20 victory in Colorado Springs in 2013 and a 34-16 win at home in 2014.

Air Force defeated the Aggies in the next three meetings beginning with a 35-28 win at home in 2015, a 27-20 victory in Logan in 2016 and a 38-35 win at home last season.

Finishing with a 5-7 record and 3-5 in conference, the Falcons missed out on a bowl game for the second straight season.

The Falcons will return all three quarterbacks that combined for 2,928 yards and 10 touchdowns. They primarily run the triple option so their rushing numbers are higher than passing.

Junior fullback Cole Fagan will be back for his senior season after leading the Falcons in rushing yards with 997 to go with seven touchdowns. Quarterback Donald Hammond III led the team in rushing touchdowns during his sophomore season with nine and had 371 rushing yards.


Fresno State, Away

The defending Mountain West Conference Champions did not face the Aggies in the 2018 season but finished the year with a 12-2 overall and 7-1 conference record that includes a 19-16 win in Boise to win the Conference Championship.

Fresno State beat Arizona State 31-20 in the Las Vegas Bowl.

The 2019 season will mark the 27th meeting between the Aggies and Bulldogs with Fresno State leading the series 15-10-1. Utah State has won the last two meetings with a 38-20 win at home in 2016 and a 56-14 victory in Fresno in 2015.

Before that, Fresno State won the last six meetings and nine of the last 10 from 1993-2013.

The Bulldogs will be looking for a new starting quarterback with senior Marcus McMaryion graduating after throwing for 3,629 yards and 25 touchdowns.

Sophomore running back Ronnie Rivers will be back next season after leading the team with 743 yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground.

Fresno State will also lose wide receiver Keesean Johnson after a 1,340 yard and eight touchdown season.


New Mexico, Away

The Aggies have controlled the series over the Lobos in the last six years as they have won four of those matchups. Utah State won the 2018 meeting in Logan 61-19 and won 24-10 on the road in 2017.

All-time, New Mexico holds a 13-12 record against the Aggies but Utah State is 4-2 since joining the Mountain West Conference.

The Lobos didn’t qualify for a bowl game after a 3-9 overall and 1-7 record in conference play. It’s the second straight season that they have won just three games.


San Diego State, Away

Gary Andersen might have this game circled on his calendar when the schedule comes out because Utah State has not defeated the Aztecs ever. San Diego State is 9-0 against the Aggies.

These two teams did not play each other this season and have only played twice since USU joined the Mountain West Conference. The Aztecs won 48-14 in 2015 at home and won 40-13 in Logan in their last meeting in 2016.

This season, the Aztecs finished with an even 4-4 conference record and a 7-5 overall record. They will play Ohio in the Frisco Bowl.

Junior quarterback Ryan Agnew will return in 2019 after throwing for 1,525 yards and 10 touchdowns. They will also bring back running back Juwan Johnson after he racked up 870 yards and 10 touchdowns.


Boise State, Home

Utah State will look for revenge against the Broncos after they ruined their chances of hosting the Mountain West Conference Championship game at home.

Boise State has had Utah State’s number since they started playing each other. Next season will be the 19th meeting between the schools and the Broncos are 15-3 against the Aggies. Utah State won the first two meetings of the series in 1996 and 1997.

The Broncos than won the next 12 games before Utah State won 52-26 at home in 2015. Boise State has won the last three games.

Boise State finished with a 7-1 conference record and 10-3 overall and lost to Fresno State in the Conference Championship game.

They will face Boston College in the First Responders Bowl.

The Broncos might get their star Alexander Mattison back for his senior season if he decides to wait one year for the NFL Draft. The Running back had 1,415 yards and 17 touchdowns including back-to-back 200-yard performances against Utah State and Fresno State.

They will be looking for a new quarterback since Brett Rypien is graduating. Also, they will be searching for receivers as their two leading receivers are graduating.


Colorado State, Home

Utah State beat the Rams this season in a crazy ending that was decided by a penalty flag that costed Colorado State the upset win.

In the long storied history of games between these two teams, the Rams have a 37-33-2 record. Utah State snapped a two game losing streak to Colorado State with their 2018 win. Since 2011, they are 4-4 against each other.

Quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels will graduate, so the Rams will be searching for their next quarterback. Same goes for their running back Izzy Matthews as he will be graduating.

Star wide receiver Preston Williams could be gone as well but for the NFL after racking up 1,345 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns.


Nevada, Home

The Wolfpack have been successful against Utah State in their history, with a 13-5 record all-time. The two teams didn’t face each other this season. Nevada won the 2016 matchup 38-37 in Reno before Utah State won the previous two games in 2011 and 2015. From 2005-10, Nevada won all six games.

Nevada finished the 2018 regular season with a 7-5 overall record and 5-3 in conference play. They will play Arkansas State in the New Mexico Bowl.

They will be without Ty Gangi next season as the quarterback will graduate. Nevada did find their running back for the next three years in freshman Toa Taua as he racked up 816 yards and six touchdowns this season.


Wyoming, Home

Utah State had to overcome a tough defense in Laramie last season but the Aggies escaped with a 24-16 win. All-time, Utah State leads the series against the Cowboys 38-26-4. Their 2018 win snapped a two game losing streak to Wyoming but before that, the Aggies won four straight from 2011-15.

Despite winning their last four games and finishing with a 6-6 record, Wyoming did not receive a bowl bid.

They will be without their star running back Nico Evans who finished his senior season with 1,325 yards and eight touchdowns.

Wyoming will have their starting quarterback Tyler Vander-Waal back who finished his redshirt freshman season.

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