LOGAN — With Boise State in the rearview mirror, Utah State's schedule gets much easier down the home stretch. Starting with this weekend’s trip to 2-4 New Mexico, the combined record of the Aggies' final five opponents is just 12-16.
Only two of Utah State's first seven opponents currently have losing records (Air Force and Weber State), while three of USU's final five games are against teams below .500.
Following this week's game, the battered Aggies will get their first bye of the season. Utah State is the last team in the Mountain West to have an off week.
“I don’t really think about it much. It’s one game at a time, so I’m all New Mexico right now,” linebacker Jake Doughty said of the Aggies' schedule. “I’m sure after Saturday, though, I’ll be happy to have the bye week here.”
HOMECOMING FOR WELLS: New Mexico and Utah State don’t have much shared history, having played only 19 times in more than 100 years of Aggie football, but head coach Matt Wells has plenty of history with the Lobos.
From 2007 to 2008 Wells was the wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator. After a year in Louisville, Wells returned to Albuquerque in 2010 to coach the wide receivers before ultimately coming back to Logan to coach quarterbacks at his alma mater.
“There are good and bad memories there,” Wells said about his time at New Mexico. “We struggled a bit my last year there, but winning the New Mexico Bowl and getting to nine wins in 2007 was cool. ... We've got friends there and (my son) Wyatt was born there, so it will be neat to go see some of that. But this is a business trip. We're going there to compete and win a ballgame and stay on track for some of our goals here.”
GARRETSON GETS THE CALL: There will be no mystery this week about who is starting the game under center for Utah State. Freshman quarterback Darell Garretson was listed on the top of the depth chart this week, and Wells confirmed that he will be the Aggies' starter Saturday.
“I thought Darell came in (during) the third quarter when I didn't think we had any momentum and kind of needed a boost to tilt it back in our favor,” Wells said. “He struggled a little bit with the first couple series, but I thought he gained composure and played well down the stretch.”
Garretson finished with two interceptions last week, but did lead the Aggies on a 91-yard touchdown drive in the final minutes against the Broncos.
AGGIES EARN ACCOLADES: After intercepting two passes against Boise State last week, cornerback Nevin Lawson became the first Aggie player to win a Mountain West player of the week honor. Several more Aggies earned accolades this week as Phil Steele released his midseason All-Mountain West teams. Center Tyler Larsen and linebacker Kyler Fackrell made the first team. The second team had five Aggies on the list, including Lawson, quarterback Chuckie Keeton, offensive lineman Eric Shultz and linebackers Zach Vigil and Jake Doughty. Offensive guard Jamie Markosian rounded out the honors coming in on the third team.
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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