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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) warms up in Provo Friday, Sept. 28, 2012.

PROVO — It's presumed that BYU freshman Taysom Hill will start Friday against Utah State.

But there's a chance that senior starter Riley Nelson, who is nursing a back injury, could start, or play.

"Too early to say whether he'll be playing this weekend or not, but he was a little bit ahead of where I thought he would be," coach Bronco Mendenhall said Tuesday after Hill and Nelson had split the reps in practice.

That was the last day reporters had contact with the team this week.

"This weekend was the first time since the injury happened that I felt significantly better," said Nelson, the former Aggie, on Monday. "We're taking steps towards recovery. It's hard because I want to play really, really bad. I feel better now than I did."

"We'll make a decision that's right for this team," offensive coordinator Brandon Doman said Monday. "Riley's just not healthy. When he's healthy, we'll re-evaluate it at that point and get Riley back going and get him back in the swing of things."

BRONCO ON ANDERSEN AND LOGAN: When asked what he thinks about when he sees Utah State on the schedule, Medenhall replied, "I think about Gary Andersen and the relationship I have with him. I think about how I really like Logan. I think it's a cool place."

Mendenhall added that he also thinks about the last two meetings against Utah State, with BYU losing in Logan in 2010 and the Cougars rallying to defeat the Aggies in the final minute in Provo last season.

TEN YEARS AGO: In 2002, BYU trailed USU 34-7 at halftime in Logan before starting a furious rally. BYU scored 28 unanswered points in the second half to claim a 35-34 victory.

Freshman running back Curtis Brown ran for 217 yards and three touchdowns against the Aggies that night.

EXTRA POINTS: Friday marks the 82nd meeting between BYU and Utah State. The Cougars lead all-time series, 44-34-3. … BYU wide receiver Cody Hoffman has caught at least one pass in 24 straight games. … BYU outside linebackers coach Kelly Poppinga played at Utah State for two years before transferring to BYU and starting at linebacker for the Cougars in 2006-07. … The 396 yards BYU gained on the ground in last week's victory over Hawaii was its highest rushing total since amassing 410 rushing yards in a 56-34 win over Colorado State in 2001.

email: jeffc@desnews.com