Nine wins, what more can I say? They've done a tremendous job... —Utah State coach Gary Anderson
LOGAN — Following last week’s thrilling 48-41 overtime win over Louisiana Tech, this year’s Utah State football team is officially the most successful Aggie team since 1961. This week the Aggies (9-2, 5-0) could go from being the best team in 51 years to being the best team in school history.
In 114 years of football at Utah State, never before has a team reached double-digit wins in a single year. This year’s squad would accomplish that with a win over Idaho (1-10, 1-4), and in the process capture the school's first outright conference championship since 1936.
“Nine wins, what more can I say? They've done a tremendous job; they've reached a lot of goals this year they had set for them,” head coach Gary Andersen said. “They still have goals out there that they want to go out and continue to fight for and play well to give back to the university, all the fans, and we are excited about that opportunity.”
While the Aggies are flying high on arguably the best season in their history, the visiting Vandals show just how precarious success can be. Just three years ago Idaho had an eight-win campaign and won the Humanitarian Bowl. Now they are struggling through a miserable season.
Idaho’s only victory came on the first weekend of October and the Vandals have been routinely blown out of games, with losses of 66-0, 63-14 and 70-28 in their rearview mirror. In the 10 losses the Vandals have only come within 17 points three times. Idaho is third from the bottom in the nation in both scoring average (16.5 per game) and points allowed (42.2).
While the opponent might not look like much, the Aggies are preparing hard for their final home game of the season. Senior Day will have an extra special meaning for the group that has helped the school break through years of struggling to a national ranking. The four-year senior class, Andersen’s first recruiting class at Utah State, has racked up 24 wins in its time in Logan, the third-best mark in school history.
“I appreciate them for all the belief they had in us as a coaching staff, the belief they had in me, the faith and the belief that the parents had to let their young men come here,” Andersen said. “At the time when you are recruited, you have no idea. It's just like anything else. ... They had no idea how special the situation they were getting themselves into as far as the university, as far as the things that could possibly happen.”
Kerwynn Williams, one of the 18 seniors on this team, set the school record for all-purpose yards in a career at Louisiana Tech last week. Williams has accumulated 6,510 yards in his four years as an Aggie and can set the Western Athletic Conference record for all-purpose yards with 181 against Idaho.
Aggies and Vandals on the air
No. 25 Utah State Aggies (9-2, 5-0) vs. Idaho Vandals (1-10, 1-5)
Merlin Olsen field at Romney Stadium (25,513), Logan
Saturday, 1 p.m.
TV: ESPN Regional/Altitude RADIO: Aggies Sports Network
Kraig is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter at DesNewsKraig.