USU football: Old sibling rivalry to be renewed Thursday night at Romney Stadium as Larsen brothers lead respective teams into battle

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Monday, Aug. 27 2012 3:00 p.m. MDT

By Matt Sonnenberg, USU Athletic Media Relations

The first time that the Larsen brothers put on football pads together, eight-year-old Tyler got a very rude awakening to full-contact football from his older brother Cody.

“It was funny,” Cody said of that first day. “I ran over him a few times and his eyes were wide open, and then I let him take me down a few times.”

The two have come a long way since the then 11-year-old Cody got the green light from his dad to ring his little brother’s bell out in the yard. They’ve both grown up and done plenty more competing with each other, and they are now both in the middle of some impressive college football careers.

Tyler is coming off a season where he earned first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors and finds his name on a handful of watch lists for national college football awards. He has started 25 consecutive games at center for Utah State and is the cornerstone of the Aggies’ offensive line.

Cody has plenty of accolades too from his past three seasons anchoring the defensive line for Southern Utah. After being named to the all-Great West Conference first team for the past two years, Cody has been named to numerous preseason Football Championship Series (FCS) All-American teams entering the 2012 season.

In Thursday’s season-opening game between the Aggies and Thunderbirds in Logan, the Larsen brothers will bash heads for the first and only time as college football players. For two brothers who have spent their entire lives competing with one another both on and off the football field, this game will likely bring some major clout in their ongoing competitions.

“I don’t even know if I have words for it,” Tyler said when asked to describe the competitive nature growing up between him and his older brother Cody.

Whether it was wrestling, eating, weight lifting or playing basketball, Tyler says that he and Cody were always going at it. And while a three-year age difference might make things lopsided in most sibling rivalries, that wasn’t the case with these two.

“When we were a little bit older going into high school, Tyler was always a little bit bigger than I was, so I always had something to prove,” Cody said. “But me being the older brother, Tyler always had to try to prove something too.”

Those high school years for Tyler began much in the same way as his first day of little league football with a head-to-head battle against his older brother.

“His first practice his freshman year, when I was a senior, it was kind of a rerun of that,” Cody said. “I ran him over a few times and told him, ‘Welcome to varsity football.’ After that, he handled himself just fine.”

That season marked the only time to date that Tyler and Cody have shared a football field with both of them playing key roles for the defense at Jordan High School during the 2005 football season.

“My freshman year, when he was a senior, we played the same position against Alta,” Tyler said. “We both started, and we were both defensive ends. That was really cool.”

In that first game starting together, the Larsen’s marched onto their rival high school’s turf and came away with a 27-23 win against the Atla Hawks. They went on to clinch a region title as well that season. The younger of the Larsen’s had become an impact player right alongside his older brother, something Cody believes he had a hand in, much like most older brothers would.

“Oh absolutely," he said. "I made sure he ate well and beat him up enough that he’s as tough as he is because of what I did to him.”

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