The last time Utah State and Colorado met on the football field, little Davey Arslanian was just a bouncing baby boy.
That was 49 years ago in 1949 when the Buffaloes beat the Aggies 20-7. The two schools from opposite sides of the Rockies used to play each other on nearly an annual basis for more than 20 years. Then just like that, the series abruptly ceased with Colorado leading 10-6-1.Today at 1 p.m., the two former rivals will renew acquaintances when Arslanian brings his Aggies to 52,000-seat Folsom Field to face Rick Neuhisel's 15th-ranked Buffaloes.
It won't be easy for the Aggies, who will have to play without the services of their top running back, Demario Brown, who will not play because of an ankle injury he suffered in the Utah game. Brown played against New Mexico last week but was ineffective in rushing for just 13 yards in 19 carries. Brown made the trip because he is a captain but didn't practice much this week. Also out is receiver Adrion Pierson, who injured his ankle against New Mexico.
Replacing Brown in the starting lineup will be John Roberts, a redshirt freshman from San Diego, who has rushed the ball four times for 10 yards this year.
On paper it looks like a mismatch between a team that is 2-0 with a pair of wins over Western Athletic Conference opponents and one that is 0-2 with a pair of losses to WAC opponents. However, even though the odds are stacked against them, especially with Brown out, the Aggies don't plan to be intimidated and roll over for their big-name opponents from the Big 12.
"Our goal is to win every game," said Arslanian. "We are not going to take consolation in playing anybody close."
That's what happened the first two weeks when the Aggies took Utah right to the wire before losing 20-12 and then forced New Mexico into three overtimes before falling last week in Albuquerque 39-36.
Meanwhile Colorado had to come from behind to beat Colorado State 42-14 and Fresno State 29-21 last week in their home opener.
In the latter game, quarterback Mike Moschetti tore some cartilage in his ribs and was questionable for this week. However, Thursday he was pronounced ready to play. Two other starters are out, though: wide receiver Marcus Stiggers with a broken wrist and center Andre Gurode with a knee injury.
The Buffaloes are a balanced offensive team with almost an equal number of passing and rushing plays. Dwayne Cherrington has done the bulk of the running this year with 46 carries for 196 yards, while Moschetti ranks 20th in the nation in passing efficiency, completing 60 percent of his passes for 481 yards and four touchdowns.
On defense, free safety Rashidi Barnes leads the way with 18 tackles in two games. The defense has only come up with one quarterback sack and no interceptions this year, which may be good news for USU quarterback Riley Jensen, who passed the ball 54 times last week and may have to throw that much again this week.
The Buffaloes might be more fired up this week, because Neuhisel hasn't been pleased with his team's play so far, particularly in the first halves. "We're far, far from a finished product," he said after the Fresno game. "We've got a lot of work to do and we've got to do it fast."