UTAH STATE AGGIES

Previewing Alabama Ahead Of Kickoff Against Utah State

Sep 3, 2022, 3:35 PM | Updated: 4:23 pm

LOGAN, UT – The Utah State Aggies have their work cut out for them as they face their first road test of the season, a battle with top-ranked Alabama.

Utah State (1-0) travels to Tuscaloosa, Alabama where they take on the preseason No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday, September 3. Kickoff is scheduled for 5:30 p.m (MST).

Just Another Game

Named after former school president George H. Denny and longtime Crimson Tide head coach Paul “Bear Bryant”, Bryant-Denny Stadium, home of the Crimson Tide, seats 100,077 fans from one of the most rabid crowd bases in college football. In terms of capacity, Bryant-Denny Stadium is the eighth-largest stadium in the United States and tenth-largest in the world.

Head coach Blake Anderson and quarterback Logan Bonner were a part of the Arkansas State team that lost 57-7 against Alabama in 2018.

“Enjoy it. Who gets an opportunity to line up strap up with 100,000 people in the stands? So don’t don’t let it intimidate you. Let it fuel you,” is the message Anderson has been delivering to his team all week long.

Bonner, who was 6-of-14 passing for 53 yards, including a long of 26 yards, and rushed for 28 yards on three carries, including a long of 11 yards, echoed his coach.

““We just need to go in there and play ball and treat it like a regular game. There’s no difference. Don’t be surprised when you make play. We’re on scholarship too. We can make plays too. Just be confident and know your job and do your best and see what happens.”

Play Within yourself

“We’re gonna go play maybe the best team on the planet. There’s no weaknesses, there just aren’t,” Anderson said of the perennial powerhouse Crimson Tide.

With the bar set so high, how can Utah State make this a game?

To begin with, Anderson and his coaching staff had the Aggies focusing on themselves, not Alabama during weekly preparation.

“We’ve got to focus on getting better. We’ve got to reduce the missed tackles. We’ve got to reduce the turnovers, couple penalties, couple critical mistakes. We’ve got to play our best football to have a chance to be in this game.”

Previewing The Tide

Led by seven-time National Champion Nick Saban, including six championships since joining Alabama in 2007, the Tide went 13-2 last season, eventually falling 33-18 to Georgia in the 2022 National Championship Game.

The Tide return 12 starters and 51 letter-winners from 2021. Two of those returning starters are sophomore QB Bryce Young, the reigning Heisman Trophy Winner, and junior LB Will Anderson Jr., the reigning Bronko Nagurski Winner, given annually to the nation’s top defensive player.

Defensively, the Tide also return first-team All-American defensive back Jordan Battle and senior LB Henry To’oto’o, who was named second-team all-SEC last year.

Alabama averaged 39.9 points and 488.2 yards of total offense per game (338.2 passing, 150.0 rushing) and allowed 20.1 points and 304.1 yards of total offense (218.0 passing, 86.1 rushing).

Series History

This is the third meeting between the schools with all three coming in Tuscaloosa. The Aggies fell 48-17 in 2004. In a 2005 rematch, Utah State managed just a field goal in a 35-3 loss.

USU is looking for their second win against Southeastern Conference competition. They are currently 1-17 against SEC teams. The last time Utah State played a team from the SEC was when it lost 42-6 at No. 5 LSU on Oct. 5, 2019.

The Aggies are 0-2 all-time against top-ranked teams but this will be the first such matchup for USU since 1984 when they lost 38-13 to BYU. Utah State’s other loss dates back to 1971 when the Aggies lost to Nebraska, 42-6.

Up Next

Utah State (1-0) plays at perennial powerhouse No. 1 Alabama (0-0) in their season opener on Saturday, Sept. 3, at 5:30 p.m. (MST), in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in a game that will be televised on the SEC Network.

Every Utah State football game can be heard on the KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard and former Aggie quarterback Kevin White on the call.

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