A late Saturday loss to Boise State has the Utah State Aggies starting to refocus for the remaining three games.
The focal point now is bowl eligibility. Utah State (4-5, 2-3) needs to win two of those three contests to get to the six-victory level for the season.
“When we take a loss, it’s real hard on us. Now we’ve got to step back, gather ourselves up and go full steam ahead,” Aggies junior Rob Castaneda said.
A 41-14 defeat at home to Boise finished a four-game stretch that included three losses at home to the leaders of the Mountain division in the Mountain West Conference — Colorado State, Wyoming and Boise State.
“That doesn’t sit real well with me. We’ve played the three best teams in the league at home,” Utah State coach Matt Wells said. “I don’t think it matters, the way we played those three games, where the venue was.”
Utah State at New Mexico
Saturday, 3:30 p.m.
TV • ATTSN
The Aggies’ remaining three opponents are New Mexico, Hawai’i and Air Force, with a collective record of 10-14 and 5-10 in MWC play. USU plays at New Mexico on Saturday, Hawai’i visits on Nov. 18 in Utah State’s final home game and the Aggies go to Air Force over Thanksgiving weekend to wrap up the season.
“We’ve got to find a way to win this, get us back to even, 3-3 in league and another step closer to bowl elgibility,” Wells said.
Utah State continued to get younger in the starting lineup in Saturday’s loss to the Broncos — particularly along the defensive line.
Sophomore defensive end Devon Anderson and freshman Logan Lee, also a defensive end, made their first career starts for the Aggies.
“It was because the first half performance against UNLV was so poor,” said Wells of the line shuffle. “We started new guys, but quite frankly it just means they start first — not play more.”
Freshman safety Baron Gajkowski, although not starting, did get plenty of playing time for Utah State and he led the team in tackles against Boise with 11 stops.
Tre Miller, a freshman from St. George, led the team in rushingwith 40 yards, while another first-year player, Jordan Love, started his secondstraight game at quarterback for USU.
Regular starter Chase Christiansen, a junior linebacker from Stansbury, missed the Boise State game as did senior defensive end Ian Togiai.
Togiai, a starter at the beginning of the season, was helped off with an apparent left leg injury three weeks ago against Colorado State and the former Hunter High standout has not returned since.
“We missed a few guys last week, so hopefully they’ll be back this week,” said Wells without specifically detailing the injuries.