Utah State Ready To Test Themselves Against Iowa Hawkeyes

Aug 28, 2023, 2:57 PM

LOGAN, Utah – The Utah State football program began game week preparations in earnest today as they prepare to face the Big Ten’s Iowa Hawkeyes. Saturday begins the 126th season of play for the Aggies.

USU will take on the No. 25 Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa City, IA on Saturday, September 2. Kickoff is scheduled for 10:03 a.m. (MT).

Head coach Blake Anderson, quarterback Cooper Legas, and cornerback Michael Anyanwu met with the media on Monday, August 28 to discuss the season opener.

RELATED: 2023 Utah State Aggies Football Schedule

Entering his third season as the Aggie head coach, Anderson looks forward to testing his team against a physical Hawkeye opponent. “It’s going to be a huge test for us to start with,” Anderson stressed. “The environment is going to be chaotic. They’re built well. A big, physical football team.”

As this season’s play-caller on offense, Anderson knows USU can play the style they need to be competitive. “We’re gonna have to match what they do and how they do it, but also try our best. Play to our strengths with the speed, quickness, and tempo. Hopefully, find a way to make them uncomfortable.”

RELATED: Utah State Releases Depth Chart For Week One @ Iowa Hawkeyes

“I feel like our guys are prepared. We’re narrowing things down, trying to simplify and make it as easy as possible to react and play. If we can protect the ball and play physical up front on both sides, who knows?”

“We’ve done enough against each other to have an idea but there’s still a ton of questions,” Anderson said. “There’s no way to know until you go and play a good opponent. We’re gonna get that opportunity on Saturday.”

RELATED: Limiting Turnovers Will Be Key For Aggie Signal-Callers

Roster Turnover Forces Change

USU will have to get comfortable quickly as their roster includes just 35 returning lettermen and nine starters from a year ago. 59 newcomers (26 offensively, 31 defensively) litter the depth chart.

When the Aggies released their first official depth chart of the season on Monday, only eight starters from a season ago maintained their starting role. Tasked with protecting returning QB Cooper Legas is an offensive line featuring four new starters alongside left guard Wade Meacham.

RELATED: Utah State Offensive Line Ready For In-Game Challenge

“We lost a couple of key guys… but I think some of the younger guys have really stepped up,” Legas said. “They’re coming together and starting to dial in with their assignments.”

On defense, Ike Larsen and Michael Anyanwu lead the secondary. MJ Tafisi returns from injury to shore up the linebackers, with Hale Motu’apuaka finishing his USU career on the defensive line.

RELATED: Thoughts From Utah State’s Second Scrimmage

“A lot of new faces,” graduate senior cornerback Anyanwu commented. “I think they’ve done a great job. I think fall camp was a step in the right direction. Guys got better every single day. We want to be raising the standard as a defense so that’s always good when you see new guys come in and contribute right away.”

Aggie Depth Report

  • Senior safety Omari Okeke has been lost for the season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
  • Safety Anthony Switzer is expected to make his Aggie debut against the Hawkeyes after missing last season due to a knee injury. Switzer is listed as a starting linebacker on USU’s initial depth chart.
  • Redshirt freshman Paul Fitzgerald is listed as a starting defensive end ahead of week one against Iowa. Fitzgerald saw action in two games as a true freshman without recording a stat.
  • Defensive tackle Hale Motu’apuaka and tight end Broc Lane are both day-to-day with injuries.
  • Anderson said he expects to be without starting tight end Josh Sterzer for the first couple of weeks ‘at a minimum’. True freshman Will Monney is listed as the Aggies third tight end and could see some snaps if Lane is unavailable

Utah State Aggies vs. No. 25 Iowa Hawkeyes

Saturday, September 2 – Kinnick Stadium, Iowa City, IA

Radio – Aggie Sports Network

• Play-by-Play: Scott Garrard

• Analyst: Kevin White

• Online: kslsports.com/kslsportszone

T.V. – Fox Sports One

• Play-by-Play: Jeff Levering

• Analyst: Mark Helfrich

• Xfinity (Utah): Ch. 265/HD691

• DirecTV: Ch. 219

• DISH: Ch. 150

Following The Aggies With KSL Sports Zone

Utah State begins the 2023 campaign with a road test against the No. 25 Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa hosts the Aggies on Saturday, September 2 with a 10 a.m. (MT) season-opening kickoff.

Utah State football games are found on KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard and former Aggie quarterback Kevin White (1988-89) on the call.

KSL Sports coverage of Utah State University Athletics can be found here. 

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Utah State Ready To Test Themselves Against Iowa Hawkeyes