Ute scout team quarterback T.J. Canales knows all about the Utah-Utah State rivalry.
His father, Michael, who went by the name "Chico" at the time, was a quarterback for Utah State from 1981-83 and helped lead the Aggies to a 21-17 victory over the Utes in 1983 one of just two USU wins in Logan in the annual series since 1980.
"Yeah, he's told me about his time up there and what he did when he was there," said the younger Canales.
T.J. didn't grow up as a Utah State fan, however, since he lived as a youth in Ephraim, where his dad coached at Snow College for eight years. T.J. later moved to Layton, where he was an all-state quarterback for Northridge High in 2005.
The elder Canales is now the receivers coach at the University of South Dakota after stops with South Florida, Arizona, North Carolina State and the New York Jets.
The Canales connection isn't the only link between the rivals.
USU sophomore running back Curtis Marsh is the son of former Ute Curtis Marsh (same name). The elder Marsh, whose NFL career included stints with Jacksonville, Pittsburgh and Cleveland, was a senior in 1994 when Kyle Whittingham joined the Utah coaching staff.
"I didn't know him very well, but he was very talented, very fast. I remember that much. He was a great kid," Whittingham said before addressing the second generation. "Yeah, it makes me feel old. No question about it. His son is a very good player."
There are other ties as well.
• USU cornerback Geno Odong and Utah linebacker Stevenson Sylvester are cousins.
• Aggie offensive lineman Mike Green earned a bachelor's degree at Utah after serving in the U.S. Army
• Utah center Zane Taylor's parents, Tom Taylor and Kristin Millis, are USU graduates.
• Ute receiver Mike Hicken's mother, Pat, is a USU alumna.
PLEASANT MEMORY: Sylvester will never forget his first visit to Logan as a freshman in 2006.
In the second half, he intercepted a pass near midfield, then weaved his way through the Aggie offensive players for a touchdown.
He says it seems like a long time ago, but he clearly remembers the touchdown.
"I remember I had to tip it to catch it," he said. "I was just running for daylight and was exhausted when I got to the end zone."
BLUE TO RED: Ute starting linebacker Mike Wright grew up as a Utah State fan because his dad was an Aggie and raised him as a Utah State fan. Wright says he remembers going up to Romney Stadium for many games as a youth and, though he doesn't recall specific games, he remembers the outcomes of most Ute-Aggie games.
"They were always heartbreakers for me," he said.
And don't worry about him having any sympathy for the Aggies this week."I'm a true Ute," he said. "I bleed red."
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