After traveling to Baton Rouge to face the Louisiana State Tigers and getting thumped, the Utah State Aggies returned to Cache Valley licking their wounds.
But there were a couple pieces of good news: The Aggies had a bye week immediately following the loss to LSU and have more familiar foes on the horizon. Now that the Aggies have gotten some time to rest, recover and refocus for the return of their Mountain West Conference schedule, they’re back in something-to-prove mode.
“We, obviously, were humbled the last time we were out on the field,” senior placekicker Dominik Eberle said Monday at USU’s weekly press conference. “But we took that as a motivator, as something that we said, 'That is not going to happen again, that is not who we are,’ and we came out and had a really good week of practice.”
Utah State’s record now stands at 3-2 overall. But the more important record might be its 2-0 mark against MWC teams. The unblemished Aggies will put that status on the line against the Nevada Wolfpack, who are 4-2 (1-1 MWC), Saturday at Maverik Stadium.
While the Aggies suffered their worst loss of the season against LSU, junior linebacker Kevin Meitzenheimer offered a solution for the feelings of disappointment that came with it.
“I feel like the first thing you have to do after losing is get back to work,” Meitzenheimer said. “That’s the way you get over the loss. Coming back to work is going to make us better. Being able to have that extra week, getting everybody healthy, the extra film, the extra treatment, it’s going to give us an upper edge on them (Nevada).”
Eberle said the loss to the Tigers didn’t result in anyone playing the blame game and that the entire team is ready to compete.
“I feel like our guys have a lot of confidence, and now being back home where we’ve been on a good run, I feel like that’s going to really add to our fire and push us for these next seven weeks,” Eberle said.
Six of the next seven games for Utah State are against MWC opponents.
Aggies coach Gary Andersen said the bye week gave his team a little extra time to evaluate Nevada, which he described as a “very tough-minded” and “resilient” team.
“They keep on fighting and keep on positioning themselves to keep playing hard, and that’s one thing you’ll notice: these guys play hard,” Andersen said of the Wolfpack. “Football is important to them.”
But football is important to the Aggies, too, Andersen said. And the team will look to show it after LSU. Andersen expects his team to show it after a game against the Tigers that they’ve mostly put behind them.
“It’s not like we walked around moping because we lost that football game,” Andersen said. “We talked about it. We put it in the rear-view mirror. We can’t leave it entirely, we have to have a little piece of that in the rear-view mirror. We have to remember it and have that little piece in the rear-view mirror in order to help it drive us, help us focus and help us continue to grind.”