But that probably all went away Saturday night as USU committed a series of turnovers, blew assignments and generally looked inept in an ugly 30-7 loss to San Jose State at Spartan Stadium.
It appeared that the Aggies had a good chance to be at least competitive with San Jose State and maybe have a decent opportunity to win. Instead, the contest turned into yet another lopsided beating as the Aggies fell to 1-5 for the season.
The statistics were grim. Utah State mustered just 190 total yards, and most of that real estate came long after the game was decided. The Aggies couldn't run the ball, netting just 82 yards on the ground. They couldn't protect the quarterback, surrendering four sacks. They lost three fumbles, with quarterback Diondre Borel coughing the ball up on the first play of the game. They threw a pair of interceptions, with one being returned for a touchdown.
"We were pinned the whole time and couldn't make a first down," said Utah State coach Brent Guy.
"I mean, it's simple execution, and that was our issue all night," he added. "I felt like the defense played pretty well early, but I think they wore down."
In short, it was the kind of performance that everyone connected with the program feared. Instead of building upon the momentum created by the efforts against BYU and Idaho - USU's lone win of the season - the Aggies regressed in a big way. And with the schedule toughening up over the next few weeks, the Utah State fan base is becoming more restless by the day, and another lengthy losing streak is not out of the question based on Saturday's performance.
"It's frustrating," said Borel. "We thought we had a great chance coming into this game after playing all those ranked teams. We thought we would have a better chance at [winning] this game."
Ronald Scott scored the lone touchdown of the evening for the Aggies on a 2-yard pass from Sean Setzer. That play was one of the few positive ones for USU.
Before that, the Aggies saw a Spartan offense that had been touchdown-challenged over the past few weeks explode for over 400 yards. Kyle Reed, San Jose's elusive quarterback, threw three touchdown passes, including two in the decisive second quarter. The Spartans would eventually pull out to a 30-0 lead before throwing in their reserves.
Now the Aggies, once again, go back to square one. Utah State is still 1-1 in Western Athletic Conference play. At least technically, the Aggies can still consider themselves in the race for the league title.
But things don't get easier from here. Next week brings a trip to Nevada, a team with an explosive offense.