"They're like us," Fresno coach Tim DeRuyter said. "Their backs are against the wall as well. … They're playing decent but not finding a way to win. I see a lot of parallels between our team and their team."
Utah State comes off a bye, which has given coach Matt Wells a chance to "self-scout" the Aggies and, perhaps, figure out why they have been unable to win close conference games.
"To me, this week is about Fresno State," he said. "But it's also about us — hopefully — putting it together in all three phases of the game and finding a way for us to get our first win in the league."
In its latest attempt, Utah State built a 24-10 halftime lead at Colorado State. The Aggies were shut out in the second half, however, and the Rams rallied for a 31-24 victory.
DeRuyter knows the feeling.
Last week, Fresno played one of its best games. But the Bulldogs couldn't muster much offense against West Division-leading San Diego State and lost, 17-3.
"When you struggle, it's hard to get over the top," DeRuyter said. "Three of the last four weeks we've had a chance to win a football game but didn't make a play. … We've got to get out confidence back."
Asked about the Aggies, DeRuyter mentioned junior quarterback Kent Myers.
"Their QB is very, very athletic … [and] they have good receivers," he said. "On defense, they are a little younger than Utah State has been. But they are very, very physical on both sides of the ball."
Against Colorado State, Utah State was also inconsistent on offense and defense.
Led by Myers, the Aggies produced 456 yards of offense. But they went 7 for 16 on third down and struggled on CSU's side of the field. This season, Utah State ranks ninth in the Mountain West in red zone efficiency.
"We've played good on offense," Wells said, "but not been good enough to be the difference in winning games."