LOGAN — Because of the way their schedule worked out, homecoming really will be a special return for the Utah State Aggies.
Saturday's homecoming duel with Weber State (1-1) is the only time Utah State (1-1) will play in front of its home fans during the month of September. The Aggies are in the middle of a brutal stretch of four road games in five weeks to open the season.
As a result, USU's players will be very happy to see a crowd full of friendly faces when their game kicks off at 6 p.m. Saturday night.
“It’s nice to be back home,” head coach Matt Wells said. “I’m excited to be back in Romney Stadium in front of our fans, especially the students, the Hurd. I know that they’re going to come out in full force.”
As of last week, Utah State had already broken its all-time record for season tickets sold. Season-ticket sales are up 20 percent from last year. Combined with the student section, USU should have a noticeable home-field advantage all season, something the players are excited for.
“It was two tough road trips. They were exhausting,” running back Joe Hill said. “It is finally good to be back home in front of our fans and put on a show for them.”
Last week Utah put a pounding on Weber State by the score of 70-7, but Hill expects that to motivate the Wildcats to come out and play much better this week. With the amount of FCS upsets that have already occurred this season, Wells has downplayed any idea of looking ahead to USC next week. Instead, he has kept his players' focus on themselves, working to fix little things that went wrong during the first two weeks of the season.
“We’ve got four specific things to get them cleaned up and they got that addressed to them (Monday morning),” Wells said about his offense. “Couple of things in the kicking game that we need to clean up and be more disciplined in, some technique issues. There are plenty of things to point out to those guys in spite of what I think was a good performance on Saturday.”
Wells did not want to announce what he wanted cleaned up from his offense, but one area of possible concern for the Aggies is the running game. Quarterback Chuckie Keeton leads the team with 162 yards through two games. Hill, the Aggies' starting running back, has 108 yards on 27 carries. With his explosive speed the team hopes to see more big plays from him in the coming weeks to take some of the pressure of Keeton.
“It’s going to come. Little plays are going to break into big plays. All of a sudden it’s going to come with big play after big play,” Hill said. “Just have to focus on running the play right, reading how the defense adjusts.”
Kraig Williams is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter @DesNewsKraig.
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