Utah State Struggling With Injuries As Mountain West Play Continues

Oct 2, 2023, 1:47 PM | Updated: 2:31 pm

LOGAN, Utah – Despite being decimated by injuries recently, Utah State players can’t afford to feel bad for themselves with the bulk of Mountain West play approaching.

USU (2-3, 0-1) will host the Colorado State Rams (2-2) at Maverik Stadium on Saturday, October 7. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. (MT).

Utah State head coach Blake Anderson, wide receiver Jalen Royals, and safety Ike Larsen spoke with the media on Monday, October 2 after a 34-33 road win over UConn.

RELATED: Utah State Must Find A Way To Be More Physical Early In Games

Injuries have forced Utah State to buy into the next man up mentality.

“Football’s a physical game and people are going to get injured,” Larsen said. “You’ve gotta stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. We preach that because you never know when someone is going to go down. Practicing hard, studying the playbook, and knowing what you’re doing. So when your number gets called, you can go out there and perform.”

Two freshman offensive linemen, Bryce Radford and Aloali’i Maui, along with senior Calvin Knapp made their first starts for the Aggies. By the second half, Anderson said all five USU offensive lineman were backups.

RELATED: Utah State Safety Ike Larsen Earns Mountain West Recognition

“We’ve had some injuries that created problems,” Anderson stated. “We’ve got some guys that are going to be good players that haven’t played a whole lot. We’re getting bigger upfront but we’re inexperienced and this week we were beat up. We’ll keep battling and doing what we can.”

Will McCae Hillstead Be Ready For CSU?

Anderson did say that several players may be available by the weekend, including starting quarterback McCae Hillstead.

“McCae is going to be day-to-day,” Anderson cautioned. “He felt better yesterday (Sunday) than he did when we finished the game. I don’t know where we’re going to be but next man up. They gotta go out and do the job.”

Before leaving with a concussion in the second quarter, Hillstead was bothered by the Huskies defense consistently. He left the game having completed 6-of-11 passes for 111 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. Cooper Legas came on in relief of Hillstead and threw three touchdowns on his way to completing 11-of-13 passes for 204 yards in the win.

For the season, Hillstead is 52-of-90 (57.8 percent) for 730 yards. The true freshman out of Skyridge has eight touchdowns and five interceptions in 7+ quarters of play.

Following The Aggies With KSL Sports Zone

Utah State (2-3, 0-1) welcomes Mountain West conference foe Colorado State (2-2) to Maverik Stadium on Saturday, October 7. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. (MT). USU is 37-39-2 all-time against the Rams but has won the last four matchups. The Aggies are 7-3 in the last ten games and look to move above .500 at home as they enter with a 20-20-1 record on Merlin Olsen Field.

USU 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 Struggling With Injuries As Mountain West Play Continues