San Jose, Calif. • There was good news for Aggies fans before Friday night's game at San Jose State even began.
Junior running back Joe Hill, Utah State's second-leading rusher, was suited up in pads before the game and practicing with contact.
After helping Utah State put together a third-quarter scoring drive, Hill exited from the USC game early with an apparent leg injury. On Monday, coach Matt Wells had said Hill was day-to-day, but he expected his starting back to be available for the San Jose State game.
Defensive end Connor Williams was on the field pregame but was not suited up. The senior, who earned All-WAC Second Team in 2012, missed his fourth straight game with a foot injury.
San Jose State was not without its own critical absences: Noel Grigsby, a senior wide receiver who is the active FBS leader in career receptions with 287, was sidelined in crutches before the game. Grigsby had 181 yards against Utah State last season.
Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson was in attendance for the game, the Mountain West's second consecutive ESPN-televised game on Friday night prime time. Thompson has now attended both of Utah State's conference games.
San Jose State honored alum Dick Vermeil, a championship-winning coach in the NFL, between the first and second quarters.
Utah State enjoys national exposure
The Aggies found themselves on an ESPN network for the second time in as many weeks, one of many times Utah State will get to play on national television.
The Aggies have 10 games on national networks this season, including ESPN, CBS Sports Network and Fox Sports 1. The Aggies also have two game televised on ROOT Sports.
Utah State has had mixed success on the big stage, however, dropping close losses to Utah and USC on Fox Sports 1 and ABC, respectively.