Utah State football coach Matt Wells knows that this year's team is something special as the Aggies prepare to host New Mexico on Saturday.
"We’re in the middle of something special. We’re in the middle of something that could be a really good season if we stay the course," Wells said during his weekly press conference.
Utah State is off to a 6-1 start for the first time since 1974. The Aggies are only two spots outside both the AP and coaches polls. They've already become bowl eligible for the seventh time in the past eight seasons and remain on top of the Mountain Division with a 3-0 record. The Aggies also kept possession of the Old Wagon Wheel for two years in a row for the first time since the '70s.
One could certainly argue that no matter what else happens, Utah State has already had a pretty special season. However, it's clear that Wells and the Aggies have their eyes on bigger prizes.
That's especially true for the seniors, including linebacker Chase Christiansen.
"I’m really proud to be a part of it, especially since two years ago when we only won three games," said Christiansen. "I’m really proud of going from a team that only won three games to going to a team right now that’s 6-1. And, that’s only right now. Our goals are, obviously, a lot bigger than just being 6-1, so I’m excited for what’s to come. I’m really proud to be a part of this senior class."
"What’s kind of neat is it’s a melting pot, maybe if you will of the senior class from LDS return missionaries, from out-of-state guys to in-state guys, to Cache Valley guys to some junior college players. The guys that came in — the two- to three-year guys — came here at a critical point in this program in the last five years. I would say they’ve steadied the ship and righted the ship. You have guys that have bled Aggie blue since they were born in Gaje Ferguson and DJ Nelson. It’s neat to see all of those different backgrounds come together. We’re not even to the end of it yet. It’s been a really good class of productive leadership," Wells said.
That isn't to say that it's been completely smooth sailing. The offense is certainly eager to get back on the field to move on from a less-than-stellar performance against Wyoming last week.
"You never expect to go into a game and have multiple three-and-outs, but it’s the nature of the game. It happens sometimes," said wide receiver Jalen Greene. "You don’t panic about it. You just go back to the drawing board, see what went wrong and see what you have to work on in the week to come. There’s always another game next week, so you just have to continue to move on and try to figure out another way to stack those wins."
Now, the attention turns to the next opponent: the New Mexico Lobos.3 comments on this story
"They play us tough. We’ve had tough games against them. We play them tough they play us tough, however you want to look at it. It’s a very competitive game every time we play the Lobos, it really is. I know we’ll get their best shot. They’re very well-coached and they have athleticism." said Wells. "It will be an extremely tough, competitive Mountain Division game on Saturday. I’m looking for a great crowd. It will be great weather and hopefully we’ll give our fans something to cheer about."
With a 3-4 record, the Lobos have had an up-and-down season. While they had big blowout wins against New Mexico State and UNLV, they're riding a two-game losing streak after a two-point loss to Colorado State and a 38-7 beatdown at the hands of Fresno State.
While Utah State has already accomplished enough to make 2018 a memorable year, beating New Mexico would keep the Aggies on track for what could be a season for the ages in Logan.