After a big Week 1 win, Utah State looks to avoid a letdown against FCS North Dakota

The Aggies’ win over Washington State was the team’s first road victory over a Power Five school since 1971.

(Young Kwak | AP) Utah State players sing the school's song while celebrating with fans after winning 26-23 against Washington State in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021, in Pullman, Wash.

After upsetting Washington State on the road Saturday night, the celebration had subsided some by the time the Utah State Aggies got back to Logan on Sunday morning.

If only just a bit.

“Even a trip getting home at 4:30 in the morning is fun after a big win,” USU head coach Blake Anderson said.

That big win and that long flight?

The Aggies hope that was just the beginning of a journey.

“We don’t want that to be it,” Anderson said this week after becoming the first Utah State head coach to win his first game in more than 40 years. “We want to build on this.”

Anderson was “excited but not surprised” by his team’s win, but USU surprised plenty by rallying to beat Pac-12 foe Washington State, 26-23.

“We felt like we could win going in,” Anderson said. “I think we were underestimated by pretty much everybody going into the game.”

USU wants to avoid that mistake itself when the Aggies host North Dakota on Friday night. The Fighting Hawks (1-0 themselves) are an FCS squad but, Anderson said, “they’re basically a Division I team in our opinion.”

USU running back Calvin Tyler Jr. knows what FCS Montana did to Washington the same night Utah State upset Washington State, and believes the Aggies will be ready.

“We were a 1-6 team last year,” he said. “We have to treat every game like we’re that team, like we’re underdogs, like our backs are against the wall.”


When: Friday, 7 p.m.

Where: Maverik Stadium in Logan

TV: CBS Sports Network

• Xfinity (Utah): Ch. 269/753HD

• DISH: Ch. 158

• DirecTV: Ch. 221

Quarterback battle continues

Despite Logan Bonner leading Utah State to a game-winning touchdown on Saturday night, Anderson said his search for a starting quarterback continues. Bonner and junior Andrew Peasley are likely to once again split snaps this week.

“Still up in the air,” Anderson said. “Still evaluating. Both did some real good things. Both made some boneheaded mistakes that could have hurt us. We were hard on them both. We’re not sure when we’ll make that final decision, but we are moving toward one. There’s no doubt. This is not something we’re going to continue all year.”

One to watch

North Dakota running back Otis Weah led his team in rushing last season and ran for more than 100 yards in last week’s opener.

“He’s low to the ground, low center of gravity, powerful and they give him the ball a lot,” Anderson said. They’re dedicated to running downhill and they’ve got a good O-line. You’re going to have to tackle well.”

Injury report

Utah State safety Shaq Bond, an All-Mountain West honorable mention the last two seasons, is questionable to play Friday after injuring a knee in Week 1.

“I think his knee is structurally going to be fine,” Anderson said. “The question is how quickly can he get back to full mobility and be able to cut on it and run the way you’d like.”

Senior tight end Carson Terrell was cleared to play against Washington State but was held out as a precaution. He should be available on Friday.

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