Utah-USU football notes: Hill wants more rivalry games, but scheduling is concern
Utah athletic director Chris Hill admits the renewed interest in the Utah-Utah State rivalry makes it tantalizing to keep the Aggies on Utah's schedule, but he just isn't sure how to do it.
"It makes sense," he said before kickoff Thursday. "It is such an emotional game for us, and the interest is there."
Unfortunately, the Utes have little wiggle room thanks to a schedule that features nine conference games.
The rivalry with BYU is also a priority as is playing a team from the FCS to make sure the Utes don't over schedule.
Hill said he preferred that game to be a local team, such as next week's game against Weber State.
With all the commitments, Hill isn't sure how to satisfy everyone.
"It's a big dilemma we haven't figured out yet," he said. Complicating matters is that Hill isn't interested in visiting Logan while USU wants only home-and-homes.
The Utes and Aggies are scheduled to meet next on Sept. 12, 2015. Utah's other nonconference foes are Michigan and Fresno State that season.
Utah bought out its 2014 game in Logan with the Aggies for $500,000 so it could schedule the home-and-home series with Michigan
USU's streak ends
An impressive streak came to an end early on Thursday night.
As Travis Wilson threw a 3-yard pass to Dres Anderson on the opening drive, the Aggies gave up a first-quarter touchdown for the first time in nearly two seasons.
The last time Utah State gave up a first-quarter touchdown was against Idaho on Nov. 19, 2011.
But the Utes actually doubled up, after Jake Murphy took a reception for a 30-yard touchdown.
It was the most scored against Utah State in the first quarter since Nov. 11, 2011 against San Jose State.
Utah State didn't make many surprising personnel adjustments for the starting line-ups, but they did burn one freshman redshirt out of the gate.
The Aggies sent Jake Thompson, a true freshman from Logan High, out to take the opening kickoff against the Utes.
Also making their first starts were sophomore receiver Jojo Natson, junior defensive end B.J. Larsen and senior cornerback Tay Glover-Wright.
Utes honor signee
The Utes honored signee Gaius Vaenuku, who died in a car accident on July 30, with a moment of silence in a pregame ceremony.
Utah "striped the stadium," by having fans wear red or white depending on which section they were sitting in. Pictures can be found on the school website that will allow fans to tag themselves.