Logan • They set new standards with last week’s win at Louisiana Tech. On Saturday, the No. 25 Utah State Aggies can achieve even more against Idaho at Romney Stadium.
Utah State is within reach of a school-record 10-win season. A victory over the Vandals would also give the Aggies their first outright conference title since 1936. And on Senior Day, Utah State coach Gary Andersen’s fourth class will go down in the record books as one of the winningest in school history.
The mood is expected to be festive, with a near-sellout crowd, according to USU officials.
And did we mention that the Aggies are playing the 1-10 Vandals, among the worst Football Bowl Subdivision teams in the nation?
“No matter what, we have to come out and play hard and take care of our business,” senior running back Kerwynn Williams said. “We have to prepare the same way. We still have a game to play.”
A week ago, USU faced an offensive juggernaut in Louisiana Tech. Idaho has become a rudderless program that has struggled to score and fired its coach, Robb Akey, at midseason following an embarrassing 70-28 loss to the Bulldogs.
For Idaho, it’s been a difficult season off the field as well. Quarterback Dominique Blackmon, one of the only dynamic offensive weapons on the team, was dismissed for three failed drug tests. Taylor Elmo was suspended for posting critical remarks about Idaho athletic director Rob Spear after Akey’s firing.
And while Louisiana Tech will head to the greener pastures of Conference USA next season, the Vandals are one of the orphans of conference realignment and will go at it alone as a football independent in 2013.
With Blackmon gone, the offense has fallen into the hands of senior Logan Bushnell and junior Taylor Davis, who have split time in the last three games.
Even with nothing to play for, Idaho is still playing hard. The Vandals lost to Texas San-Antonio last week 34-27 in a game that was tied 20-20 in the fourth quarter.
Andersen says he is expecting the Vandals to give the same kind of effort Saturday.
“I think the way these kids have gone and fought for the last two years that they think they can go and play and fight against anyone,” Andersen said.
Idaho at Utah State
P At Romney Stadium (Logan)
Kickoff • Saturday, 1 p.m.
TV • Altitude. Radio • 97.5 FM
Records • Utah State 9-2, 5-0; Idaho State 1-10, 1-4
Series history • Utah State leads 19-17-2
Last meeting • Utah State 49, Idaho 42 (Nov. 19, 2011)
About the Vandals • Ryan Bass leads Idaho with 389 rushing yards. … Idaho averages 16.5 points per game.
About the Aggies • Utah State is on a 10-game WAC winning streak, a school record. … The Aggies haven’t trailed in their last four games. … USU is 14-3 in its last 17 matchups. … The Aggies have outscored their opponents 117-6 in the first quarter this year.