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Kyle Whittingham and Gary Andersen: It’s deeper than football

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham and Utah State coach Gary Andersen have a bond that goes back 20 years.

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Utah State had no shot at beating Utah back then. But through recruiting, establishing a missionary program and basically welding the Ute template onto his own program, Andersen has built a team capable of competing with the Utes on Friday night — maybe even beating them if the breaks roll their way.

Whittingham is proud of what his friend has accomplished at Utah State. He had his doubts about what he considered a potential dead-end job when Andersen took it in 2008.

At a glance

Whittingham and Andersen together

1992-94 » Idaho State

Whittingham was the defensive coordinator, Andersen the defensive line coach

1997-2002 » Utah

Whittingham was the defensive coordinator, Andersen the defensive line coach under Ron McBride

2004 » Utah

Whittingham was the defensive coordinator, Andersen the defensive line coach under Urban Meyer

2005-2008 » Utah

Whittingham was the head coach, Andersen the defensive coordinator

Utah at Utah State

Romney Stadium (Logan)

Kickoff » Friday, 6 p.m.


Radio » 700 AM

Series record » Utah, 77-28-4

Last meeting » Utah 35, USU 17 (Sept. 3, 2009)

About the Utes » Utah is 9-0 when John White IV rushes for 100 or more yards. … Utah is one of five teams nationally to shut its opponent out in the season opener. … Utah State is Utah’s oldest rival. … Utah’s current record against WAC schools is 97-41-6.

About the Aggies » USU has lost its last six battles against Utah in Logan. … The Aggies have lost 12 consecutive games in the rivalry and 20 of the last 22 meetings. … Adam Kennedy and D.J. Tialavea are expected to play, both having been injured. … Utah State won its first season opener at home since 1997 last week.

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Now, the Utah coach and his players have to deal with an Aggie team basically crafted in their own image, and fully capable of pulling off a nationally televised upset before an ESPN2 audience.

"There are a lot of similarities to the way they coach," Utah receiver Luke Matthews said. "Coach Andersen is going to try to take the ball away. They are going to make plays, and be aggressive defensively and gang tackle. It’s the same thing we see in practice every day."

Reporter Lya Wodraska contributed to this story.


Twitter: @tonyaggieville

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