Utah State Hoping To Bounce Back In Home Opener Against San Diego State

Oct 30, 2020, 3:47 PM | Updated: Apr 18, 2021, 4:10 pm
Utah State's Cash Gilliam (5) and Kevin Meitzenheimer combine on a tackle against Boise State on Sa...
Utah State's Cash Gilliam (5) and Kevin Meitzenheimer combine on a tackle against Boise State on Saturday night at Albertsons Stadium in Boise Idaho. (Wade Denniston/USU Athletics)
(Wade Denniston/USU Athletics)

LOGAN, Utah – After losing their season opener to Boise State, 42-13 on the road last week, the Utah State Aggies are hoping to bounce back at home this Saturday.

The Aggies were only able to rack up 203 yards of total offense. They had just 45 total yards on offense in the first half against the Broncos. Utah State will host San Diego State in their home opener this Saturday. The Aztecs are coming off of a 34-6 home win over UNLV last week.

Last season, Utah State went on the road to Qualcomm Stadium and beat SDSU, 23-17. That win for the Aggies was the first over the Aztecs in the history of the series after losing the previous 9 games dating back to 1971. Since joining the Mountain West Conference in 2013, USU is 1-2 against San Diego State.

Utah State Needs To Be Physical Running The Football

Of the 203 yards of total offense against Boise State, 111 of them came on the ground, led by Jaylen Warren with 89 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.

Andersen said that the run game is very important to their offensive success.

“The run game is a big part of who we want to be, it will set up the play action, it will set up the boot game and we need to be unpredictable as far as when we’re running it more we’re throwing it and moving it around,” Utah State head coach Gary Andersen told the media this week. “If you’re going to win this side of the conference, and be competitive in this side year in and year out to really be in a spot to win the conference championship, you’re going to have to be physical in running the football and have an extremely tough football team. On both sides of the ball. I think a lot of that starts with the mentality of your guys up front and your mentality of your football team, and we got the running backs, we just got to make sure we give him an opportunity to have those creases.

Former Ute Jason Shelley’s debut wasn’t what he probably expected, passing for 92 yards and one interception.

San Diego State

In the Aztecs’ win over the Rebels last week, the offense posted 424 yards of total offense, 137 passing and 287 rushing. Their physical defense limited UNLV to just 186 total yards, 106 passing and 80 rushing.

“This offensive line is extremely physical, I think much more so than they were a year ago up front, quite frankly, a lot of the same players but they’re big dudes, when you see them out there, they’re big physical guys,” Andersen said. “Their running backs, they say they’ve got five that could roll through there and play when I watched the TV copy of the game quickly and they probably do. Same thing with San Diego State, tremendous running backs, a lot of skill on the outside that can really run. The the kind of the punch with the running backs is they’re all fast. A couple of them are blazing fast, but they’ll put it on you, they like to run angry like our running backs to run angry.

“It’s impressive and that’s why they’re always in it,” Andersen added. “They may have a down year, they may be here they may be there. They’re gonna compete for a championship. That’s why they’re, I believe they were slated to win it this year on their side and because of their physicality, toughness and athleticism, they’re right in there every single year. It’s a big challenge when you got them on their schedule and we look forward to it.”

Sophomore quarterback Carson Baker went 12-of-25 passing for 137 yards and one touchdown. Senior running back Greg Bell racked up 111 yards on the ground on 19 carries and one touchdown. Junior Kaegun Williams added 84 rushing yards, while junior Chance Bell chipped in 40 yards and two scores.

Utah State and San Diego State will square off at Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 31 at 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

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