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Gary Andersen Sticking With Jason Shelley At QB After Boise State Loss

Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium, home of the Utah State Aggies football team, is pictured in Logan on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (Courtesy of Deseret News)

LOGAN, Utah – After a disappointing 42-13 season opening loss to Boise State on Saturday, Utah State head coach Gary Andersen is sticking with Jason Shelley as their starting quarterback.

The former Ute threw for 92 yards and one interception on 14-of-27 passing in the loss. The experience that Shelley provides to a young Utah State team is critical and that’s why Andersen is sticking with Shelley.

“Jason is a competitor, you know, he’ll fight back and both those kids are competitors,” Andersen told the media at his weekly press conference on Monday. “I mean, Andrew (Peasley) wants to play every snap, and he wanted more than three snaps and I get that, that comes with some frustration, I’m sure. But Andrew doesn’t show that he keeps battling his tail off. We got to  keep on fighting and battling through it. Jason’s our quarterback and he’s proven to be a really good quarterback in the past. He’s proven that it’s not like, ‘Oh, I wonder if he can be a good quarterback.’ It’s on tape against three really good teams and he allowed the football team to get to a championship game in their conference. Without him they would have had no chance to get there. So that’s a proven stat, a fact and now he’s got to prove it out there on the field. We got to allow him to get that done.”

Offensive Struggles

Utah State had just 45 yards of total offense in the first half against Boise State on the “blue turf.” They finished the game with 203 yards with 111 of those yards coming on the ground.

The passing game wasn’t much of an option for the Aggies. Andersen feels that even an NFL Hall of Fame QB would have struggled in that game.

“There’s areas to improve in all those areas,” said Andersen. “It’s so easy to just look when you say whatever, 95 yards, throwing the ball and whatever it may have been, it’s easy to sit back and say, ‘Well, you know, the quarterback didn’t get it done.’ I feel a lot like I felt after the game, I don’t think it would matter if it was Bart Starr back there, Joe Namath or who it was, I don’t think it would have been really easy to be effective in that football game, because we were covered up with the back end. The quarterback got smacked around pretty good.”

Jaylen Warren scored both of Utah State’s touchdowns, along with 89 rushing yards.

Mentality Won’t Change

After losing to Boise State the way that they did, Andersen knows that his players will continue to fight and have the right mentality.

“The mentality of this team is not going to change,” Andersen said. “They’ve been tested, they’ve been twisted, they’ve been torn, they’ve been thrown in all different ways from the mental situations that we’ve gone through in the last six months to having football, not having football, being back. You may knock them down for 24 hour period, but they’re going to get back up a fight and I respect the heck out of them for that. They’ll come back today fighting and expect to prepare for San Diego State and expect to be able to win the football game.”

Utah State will host San Diego State in their home opener on Saturday, October 31 at 7:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. The Aztecs won their first game of the season against UNLV, 34-6.

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