Utah State football: Aggies won't get caught looking ahead of Weber State
For a Utah State team eager to start making real waves in college football, this Saturday's game is a ripple.
The Aggies (1-1, 1-0 Mountain West) could be forgiven, even, for taking Weber State (1-1) for granted this homecoming weekend after their upcoming opponent allowed a whopping 70 points in its last game.
But look past the Wildcats? Not a chance, coach Matt Wells said.
"All you gotta do is flip on 'SportsCenter' for the last two weeks," said Wells, referring to some recent FCS upsets over FBS programs. "We've got Weber State on Saturday, and we're worried about us, who we are, and what we do."
Realistically, most Aggies fans aren't too concerned with the prospect of Utah State handling business in its first home game. Weber State's only win over Utah State was in 1978, and the Aggies are 12-1 in the series all-time.
The Wildcats are also sandwiched between two of the biggest games of the year. Utah State is coming off a 52-20 win over Air Force, the program's first Mountain West Conference win ever. Ahead lies the fabled USC Trojans, who are looking more and more upset-prone by the week. A win at the Coliseum would be a strong launch point into tough games against San Jose State, BYU and Boise State.
But first things first that's the message Wells brought to his Monday news conference. The Aggies were walking on air after whipping the Falcons, but film helped bring them down to earth. Utah State will focus on better execution on all three phases this Saturday, ironing out the wrinkles that could cost them in higher-stakes games.
"It's all about who we are and what we do that's big for me this week," Wells said. "That we move on and improve as a team."
The most glaring issue for the Aggies lies in the secondary, even though Utah State didn't pay for it much last week. In the first half, Air Force consistently found gaps in pass coverage, but receivers dropped a number of passes. Penalties were also an issue, which Wells said his defensive backs would work out.
But Utah State's defense is coming off a game in which it allowed only 267 yards, and last week Weber State managed only 205 and seven points against the Utes.
Offensively, the Aggies will look for another big game out of quarterback Chuckie Keeton, who threw for five touchdowns against Air Force and is now ranked No. 3 nationally in total offense. The run game was strong as well, but Joe Hill and Joey DeMartino are still looking for big yardage games Keeton currently leads the team in rushing.
Friendly ground should also help the Aggies, who are playing their first game at home. Wells talked warmly about playing in Logan, the only time he'll get a home game in his first five contests this season.
"I think as a football team when they run out of that tunnel and they see the support they get, there's an extra shot of adrenaline," Wells said. "It will be a great weekend. It's homecoming, so there's a lot of alumni back. It's important to play well in front of the guys that have paved the way for us."
Weber State at Utah State
P Saturday, 6 p.m.
Online • ESPN3