The Utes have won the last 12 meetings with Utah State and the last six in Logan, but all week Utah's coaches have been driving home the point the Aggies are a dangerous team and their near upset of Auburn a year ago illustrates such. The Tigers needed two late touchdowns to beat the Aggies 42-38.
That game is serving as a nice warning to the Utes.
"They are a quality team that should have beaten Auburn on the road, they had them beat and let them off the hook," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "They had two or three other games that got away, otherwise they would have had a 10-win season. You can't overstate how good they are."
Whittingham said closing out games is a learning process teams that are rebuilding must experience.
"You first have to learn to be competitive, then you have to learn how to win, then how to handle winning," he said. "It's a process."
As much hype as the battle between the coaches is getting, Friday's game doesn't seem to be as much of a rivalry game for the players, particularly those from out of state.
It definitely isn't on a level with Utah's rivalry with BYU judging from some of the players' reactions.
Quarterback Jordan Wynn said it was a rivalry game because it was against an in-state opponent but didn't mean much more to him than that while receiver Luke Matthews said he expects a hostile crowd, but that the game is just another game to him.
"The biggest thing is just going up and getting a win," he said.
Defensive end Trevor Reilly had similar feelings.
"It's not like BYU or even how Colorado is now, but it is an instate game and we know they are going to be hungry," he said. "It's a big game for them to come in and show what they can do and we have to be ready."
- Lya Wodraska
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