LAS VEGAS True to his word, Brent Guy gave his offense a little more freedom to spread the ball around.
After three seasons with a decidedly run-heavy offense, Utah State opened the 2008 season with well-balanced attack. Quarterback Sean Setzer, a senior making his first career start, threw 15 passes in the first half, while the Aggies had 17 rushing plays three of which were keepers by Setzer.
But after a strong first quarter in which the Aggies outgained UNLV 130 yards to 51, the Rebels shut down USU in the second quarter and closed the half out with a 217 to 153-yard advantage.
Like previous seasons, though, the Aggies' running game couldn't get much done. USU averaged less than two yards per carry in the first half with the longest run being a 8-yarder by Robert Turbin.
Sophomore Diondre Borel got his first taste of playing quarterback in the third quarter and promptly sent a charge of energy into the Aggie offense with his scrambling and speed. His first series resulted in a pair of rushing first downs as he ran for 26 yards on only five carries and led USU to an eventual 42-yard field goal by Peter Caldwell.
JUST GIVE US THE BALL: Perhaps wanting any early advantage the Aggies could get, Utah State won the pre-game coin toss and chose to receive the ball from the opening kickoff.
Return man Curtis Marsh, however, might have wished for a different decision after he was clobbered on the kick return at the UNLV 16- yard line and got up slowly while holding his head.
The Aggies didn't take advantage of the game's first possession, either, after the Rebels forced a punt after just three plays.
REMEMBER ME? Former Timpanogos High star Thor Pili is the only UNLV player from Utah. After signing with Oregon, Pili transferred to Snow College and then spent last season with the Rebels where he played in 10 games and registered 12 tackles. The 6-3, 285 pound senior started at defensive end for the Rebels.
He's not the only Rebel with Utah ties, though.
In addition to coach Mike Sanford, there are a few players on the UNLV roster that transferred from Utah schools. Adam Gent is a junior linebacker who transferred from Utah Valley University, Anthony Lewis and Jacob Hales are Las Vegas natives who came home to play on the defensive line after starting their careers at Southern Utah.
USU cornerback Geno Odong is the only Aggie from Nevada. Odong, a sophomore, played as Las Vegas' Valley High School.
ROAD WOE-RIORS: Next week will be Utah State's fourth consecutive road game. After closing the 2007 season at Idaho and New Mexico State, the Aggies open the 2008 campaign away from Logan with trips to Las Vegas and Oregon to face the Ducks.
Despite the two wins to close out last season, the road has been anything but kind to the Aggies during the Brent Guy era. In 22 road games, Guy's Aggies have won only three times.
The prospects of improving that winning percentage are not good as the Ducks have challenged for Pac-10 championships in recent years.
Of course, Romney Stadium hasn't been much better for the Aggies, where USU has won only three games for Guy.SO-SO SETZER: After a great first quarter 9-of-10 passing for 114 yards Setzer struggled to keep his momentum going. The senior was only 1-of-5 in the second quarter and tossed an interception giving UNLV a chance to extend its lead just before halftime.