Logan • Utah State now faces another challenge. A stiff one at that.
With the memory of Friday night’s 27-20 overtime upset of Utah still fresh on the mind of almost everyone in the USU program, getting the players grounded and focused remains a major priority for coach Gary Andersen.
Wisconsin looms Saturday night, a very tense and angry team after losing 10-7 at Oregon State. It also fired its offensive line coach, Mike Markuson, on Sunday night. Facing a Big Ten power like the Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium is difficult enough for the Aggies. Not being able to sneak up on Wisconsin, like USU did against Auburn last year and Oklahoma the year before, makes the task even harder.
“We have to prepare for what will be a very hostile atmosphere at Camp Randall Stadium,” Andersen said. “Wisconsin is going to be ready to go. They suffered a tough loss to Oregon State, and they are going to want to come away with a win this week. We’re going to have to be ready if we want to be competitive.”
Andersen said the next few days of practice will be dedicated to cleaning up multiple mistakes made against Utah and preparing a young team for its first true road test of the season. The Badgers hold a 16-game winning streak at Camp Randall Stadium, always one of the most difficult places to play in the country.
USU incurred 12 penalties for 101 yards, lost two fumbles, the second of which led to a Utah touchdown, and scored just twice on offense in regulation against the Utes. For all of the good things the Aggies accomplished, Andersen has told his team that making mistakes Saturday likely will result in a loss to the Badgers.
“We have to play mistake-free football,” Andersen said. “We can’t have 12 penalties and expect to continually win games. The good thing is that we were able to fight through a lot of it. The kids showed tremendous heart and character against Utah. But we have to clean things up going forward. The Badgers are a very good football team.”
Utah State at Wisconsin
P Saturday, 6 p.m. MDT
TV • Big Ten Network