LOGAN — As his father stood in front of the media Friday night, answering questions following Utah State’s 40-24 victory over BYU, young Wyatt Wells sat quietly at a seat in the Spetman Auditorium, listening intently while wearing a kid-sized Aggie football helmet.
But suddenly, much to his surprise, Wyatt heard his father reference him from the podium.
“That little 8-year-old back there told me, ‘Dad, three more.’ He knows what bowl eligibility is,” USU head coach Matt Wells said with a proud smile. “He knows what bowl eligibility is. He knows that magic number.”
Wells’ message following one of the biggest victories of his coaching career was quite clear. While acknowledging the magnitude of the win for Aggie fans and USU’s program, Wells was relatively somber and his responses very straightforward during the press conference because one big victory doesn’t make a season.
The Aggies (3-2) still have a lot of work to do, even after knocking off the Cougars (1-4) for the first time since 2014 and matching last year’s win total with seven regular-season games remaining.
“I do like the intrinsic things that it’s going to give us, just in terms of confidence and the camaraderie and these guys really understanding that they’ve got to lean on each other,” Wells said. “ I’m just going to keep talking about growing as a team because we’ve got so many youthful kids. I’m so proud of them, they made plays on the stage in an electric environment.
“That’s a big stage; a national television audience and a big crowd. We had a lot of young kids grow up today. Now we have to take another step next week.”
During Friday’s game, plenty of people certainly made a comparison between the Aggies’ seven-turnover-aided win over the Cougars with Utah State’s 52-26 victory over Boise State on Oct. 16, 2015. The Aggies ended up totaling eight turnovers in that memorable upset of the 21st-ranked Broncos, but little has gone right for the USU program since that night in Cache Valley.
Flying high at 4-2, Utah State was crushed the following week at San Diego State and ended up going 2-5 the rest of the way in 2015 and 3-9 last season.
“The confidence level is sky-high. The energy is legitimate,” Wells said Friday night. “This weekend we’ll celebrate it and be smart about it, but we have to do a better job than how we did two years ago coming off the big Boise State win. We have to jump right back in to Mountain West play.
“Right now this is a huge victory, but come Monday morning, we have to move right to Colorado State. That’s going to be another stage for our team to really grow up and prepare. Being able to take the pats on the back on campus, but then coming into this building every afternoon ready to focus.
“I’m not sure we did that really good (in 2015),” Wells continued. “I failed to do that a couple of years ago as the leader, and so hopefully I do a little bit better job.”
The Aggies, who will host Colorado State (2-2 heading into Saturday night’s game at Hawaii) on Oct. 7 in Logan, have now won back-to-back games for the first time since beating Colorado State, Fresno State and Boise State on consecutive weekends in 2015.
Down 21-7 in the second quarter of Friday night’s contest, the Aggies scored the next 26 points to take control of the ballgame. That comeback was the largest in a USU victory since the Aggies rallied from a 28-7 halftime deficit at Hawaii in 2011, a win long considered a turning point for the Utah State football program.
“It just boosts our confidence even more,” USU cornerback Jalen Davis said of the comeback against the Cougars. “Every win just boosts our confidence even more. We’re just going to take that to practice and keep working hard to get to that Mountain West championship.”
Davis totaled three interceptions in the victory, including two that the senior returned for touchdowns. Davis now has five picks on the season and has turned three of them into scores.
Former BYU safety Dallin Leavitt added an interception of his own, while the Aggies also forced and recovered three fumbles. Utah State has now forced 12 turnovers over its last two games and has 16 takeaways on the season, already far surpassing last season’s total of 10 total turnovers.
“I think the offense did well. We came out and executed our plan to win. We came out and started fast, but could have done better when the defense got turnovers,” noted USU quarterback Kent Myers, who passed for two touchdowns and ran for a third in Friday’s victory.
“We didn’t score as much as we wanted to, but we got the win, and that’s what matters. This is the win that we wanted and this is the win that we needed. This is what I’ve trained for this summer. I can’t say enough about Jalen Davis and our defense, we couldn’t have done it without them.”