Ravell Call, Deseret News
LOGAN — The Utah State Aggies will celebrate their senior day when they take on the Idaho Vandals today at Romney Stadium.
For the Aggie seniors, this season has not always been the dream they imagined, but they are still working to turn the program around.
"They are great kids and they work extremely hard," head coach Gary Andersen said about his senior class. "They fight, they are aggressive, and they want to change the program. They want to have something that allows them to hold their heads up high, stick their chests out and say 'I was a part of that.' "
With a victory today, the seniors can also deliver something the Aggies (4-6, 2-4 Western Athletic Conference) have not had since 2001 — three consecutive wins.
To Andersen, though, the success of the team is not just measured on the field and in wins and losses.
"They set a precedent off the field," Andersen said. "To this point we are building the stuff on the field, but off the field they are doing a good job, and it matters to them. Academically, we are not perfect but it matters to them, and we have got that headed in the right direction."
For the seniors that have taken so much pride in the turnaround, their last home game is going to be an emotional one.
"It is going to be a big one for me," senior running back Derrvin Speight said. "Playing at home against the Idaho Vandals, we just have to come out and hopefully we can get another win to get a three-game winning streak and just keep this thing rolling."
Speight was an afterthought for most Aggie fans during last season, when he ran for just 210 yards as a backup. But after Robert Turbin and Michael Smith went down with injuries, Speight was thrust into the starting role and is now coming off back-to-back 100-yard rushing games.
As Speight and the running game have improved, so has the Aggies' passing game. Senior quarterback Diondre Borel threw for 259 yards against San Jose State last week.
Borel needs just 199 more yards to break into the top 20 of the WAC's career offensive yards list "Diondre has come a long way since we have been here, on and off the field," Andersen said. "The best thing I can say about Diondre is him not being phased on the field shows his character, toughness, and his ability to play with a team and keep on fighting.
"There have been a bunch of times where he could hang his head and say 'How about catching the ball,' or 'How about running the right route' or 'Protect me.' There a lot of things he could've said but he never did it. He just talked about getting better and to keep fighting.
"A lot of times he turns around and points at himself and says 'I need to be better, I've got this and I will battle and make this team better.' He is one of those seniors that I love to death and I'll be there for him forever," the Aggies' coach said..
For Andersen and the Utah State seniors, getting better is what this season has been about.
"We have recruited great kids, we are in a great community and if we live up to the expectations on the field and in the classroom, it is going to be a very special place," Andersen said.
Aggies on the air
Idaho (4-6) at Utah State (4-6)
Today at 1 p.m.Romney Stadium, Logan
TV: Ch. 30
Radio: 1230 AM, 94.9 FM
- Brad Rock: Bowl drama shows BYU not going...
- Brady Poppinga: Confronting an unlikely opponent
- Dick Harmon: BYU basketball strength coach...
- Video: Former USU running back Robert...
- Both BYU and Memphis to review bowl game brawl
- Jazz rookie Dante Exum looks like a kid but...
- These 14 Utahns reminded us why we love...
- Sitake, Tuiaki leaving Utah for Oregon State
- Wild one: Memphis edges BYU in... 174
- Sitake, Tuiaki leaving Utah for Oregon... 115
- Miami Beach Bowl ends in free-for-all... 97
- Dick Harmon: Cougar bowl loss kind of... 59
- Miami Beach Bowl ends in brawl between... 52
- Brad Rock: Bowl drama shows BYU not... 48
- Both BYU and Memphis to review bowl... 46
- Report: Video games experts, BYU head... 45