USU football: Aggies release 2013 schedule

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, April 11 2013 9:25 p.m. MDT

USU quarterback Chuckie Keeton during Utah State Aggies football practice Thursday, March 28, 2013, in Logan

Tom Smart, Deseret News, Tom Smart, Deseret News, Tom Smart, Deseret News

Utah State’s 2013 football schedule was released Thursday and is highlighted by five teams that earned bowl bids a year ago and two teams that finished the 2012 season nationally ranked, as well as a full slate of Mountain West opponents.

Utah State will play four of its first five games on the road, including its first-ever Mountain West game. USU will then finish the year by playing five of its final seven games at home on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium. The last time USU began a season with four of its first five games on the road was 2009.

Utah State’s six home games will be against in-state foes Weber State (9/14) and BYU (10/4) in non-conference outings, along with MW opponents Boise State (10/12), Hawai’i (11/2), Colorado State (11/23) and Wyoming (11/30). USU’s two non-conference road games will be against a pair of Pac-12 schools in Utah (8/29) and USC (9/21), while its four conference road games will be against Air Force (9/7), San Jose State (9/27), New Mexico (10/19) and UNLV (11/9). USU will also have two open weekends during the season on Oct. 26 and Nov. 16.

For Utah State, the 2013 schedule will mark the first time since 1998 that it faces a pair of Pac-12 schools.

“This is an exciting time for Utah State as we move into the Mountain West, and we look forward to the challenges this schedule presents,” first-year head coach Matt Wells said. “Our home schedule is an attractive one that features some great regional and in-state rivals, and our non-conference schedule includes three in-state games which is very important to our program and fan base, along with a national opponent in USC.”

Utah State, who won the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl and finished the year ranked 16th in the final Associated Press standings, will host bowl teams BYU and Boise State, while traveling to 2012 bowl participants Air Force, San Jose State and USC. BSU finished the 2012 season ranked 18th in the final AP poll, while SJSU was ranked 21st.

The 2013 schedule marks the fourth-straight season and fifth time in the last six years that Utah State plays six home games. The 2013 slate also marks the third time in five years that USU will face three in-state foes, also doing so in 2009 and 2012. Prior to 2009, USU hadn't played three Beehive State teams in the same season since 2001.

Utah State will enter the 2013 season tied for the fourth-longest active winning streak in the nation with seven-straight wins, which also ranks as the third-longest winning streak in school history. USU has won 16 of its last 19 games with those three losses coming by a combined six points.

“Obviously, we are excited about joining the Mountain West and the teams we will face this year in football due to that association gives us as good of a schedule as we have had in many years at Utah State,” USU Vice President and Director of Athletics Scott Barnes said. “Once again, we have balance with six home games and that fact that we are playing regional rivals on a consistent basis certainly creates excitement with our alumni and constituents.”

Utah State will open the 2013 season on the road at in-state rival Utah on Thursday, Aug. 29. In what is the oldest rivalry in school history and the 12th-most played rivalry in the nation at the Football Bowl Subdivision level, the Aggies and Utes will meet for the 111th time this fall as USU won the last meeting, 27-20, in overtime in Logan a year ago.

Utah State’s first-ever Mountain West game will be on Saturday, Sept. 7, at Air Force in just the second-ever meeting between the two schools. The Falcons, who hosted USU in their only other meeting with the Aggies back in 1969, lost to Rice, 33-14, in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in 2012.

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