Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
LOGAN — It is homecoming weekend at Utah State, a chance for alumni to celebrate Aggie traditions like the homecoming parade, True Aggie night and a football game at Romney Stadium. For the first time in 20 years, the alumni can come to a homecoming weekend and root for a team with a winning record as Utah State (3-1) faces future Mountain West Conference rival UNLV (1-3) on Saturday night.
Utah State has long been known as one of the toughest places to play in college basketball, but the fans in Logan are working on transferring some of that over to Merlin Olsen Field. Coming on the heels of a sellout in the Aggies' last home game against Utah, USU coach Gary Andersen has called for a “White Out” from the crowd. The first-ever “Wear Your Fighting White to the Game” promotion has already sold more than 3,000 special student T-shirts, and the team is hoping the promotion will continue to build the fan base and the program.
“We talk about it all the time," Andersen said. "It truly does take everybody to truly build a football program, to develop a football program that is a consistent winner, and it is not just the players, it's not just the football program itself, it's not just the administration and it's not just the fan base. It takes everybody, and we are in such a lucky spot here as a football team to have a community that cares so much and wants to be so involved.”
Having a community that wants to be involved has helped the program, but it hasn’t hurt that the Aggies are putting a consistent winning product on the field, especially at home. The Aggies have won their last four home contests and are 7-1 in non-conference home games under Andersen.
“I think everyone is real excited about it. I think the town is buzzing about it,” said running back Kerwynn Williams. “I love playing at home and it will be good with everybody out there in their white shirts.”
Williams has a little extra reason to be excited this week. The senior running back went to Valley High in Las Vegas, but despite being first-team all-state and the MVP of his team, the Rebels didn’t offer Williams a scholarship. UNLV’s loss was Utah State’s gain as Williams has become one of the most dangerous offensive players in the state.
Williams spent his first three years as a jack-of-all-trades for the Aggies, including setting an NCAA record for kick return yardage in 2010, while waiting for his chance to become the starter. Now as a senior, Williams is carrying the running game on his back and the results have been excellent. Williams is 27th in the nation in rushing at 406 yards, and was named WAC Offensive MVP last week after running for 205 yards and two touchdowns against Colorado State.
Now more than four years after leaving Sin City for Cache Valley, Williams gets his chance to show the Rebels what they missed out on.
“I think it should be a good game, and I’m excited for it,” Williams said. “I have been waiting four years to play UNLV.”
UNLV Rebels (1-3) @ Utah State Aggies (3-1)
Saturday, Sept. 29, 6 p.m.
Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium (25,513)
Radio: Utah State Sports Network
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