LOGAN — Utah State coach Matt Wells wants to make sure he sends his seniors off with a win as the Aggies prepare for San Jose State on Senior Day this Saturday.
"We’re already fired up about it because it’s Senior Day and that’s an important day. We make a little bit of a bigger deal about it around here and I know we always play well on Senior Day," said Wells at his weekly press conference. "We’re motivated to send this senior class out undefeated.
"There have only been three other teams that have been 6-0 in 126 years of Utah State football. When you have a season where you go undefeated at home, you could have a special season overall. We’re putting ourselves in a position to continue to do that."
The Aggies will honor 25 seniors on the team at Maverik Stadium. These include leading wide receiver Ron'quavion Tarver, who has 457 yards and six touchdowns to his credit. Four of its five starting offensive linemen in Roman Andrus, Quin Ficklin, Rob Castaneda, and Sean Taylor will also say goodbye to the Aggie faithful. Linebackers Chase Christiansen and Jontrell Rocquemore will both say their farewells, while safety Gaje Ferguson will look to add to his two interceptions on the season during his last game day in Logan.
That is, unless Utah State can win the division and potentially get one more game at home for the Mountain West Conference Championship Game. At any rate, it will be an emotional game for Wells and those seniors.
"You’re handing them a lei and a ball, and you realize it will be the last time that they play in Maverik Stadium. I remember my senior game, you always remember it," said Wells. "This year will be a little different only because we control our own destiny, I’ll just say it that way. There may be a chance they get one more, you never know."
While it's been a fantastic season for these Aggie seniors, these same seniors who will be honored on Saturday were on the same team that won just three games only two seasons ago. There's no doubt these seniors and their coaches can feel wonderful about how far they've come.
After all, this team has an 8-1 record, a 5-0 record in the Mountain West, a No. 14 AP ranking, back-to-back wins over BYU for the first time since the early days of LaVell Edwards and they're beating their opponents by more than 28 points per game. Utah State is a leading contender for its first Mountain West Conference title.
And the Aggies aren't about to let their AP ranking and their conference title hopes slip away against San José State.
"The big picture is to have a chance to play for the Mountain Division championship and overall Mountain West championship at the end of this month. The small focus is San José State, who has actually been playing very well of late. They have had some close losses and are putting some points up on the board, so they’re doing a good job," said Wells. "As always, the focus will be on us, what we do, how we do it, how we play on offense, our tempo, our pace and how we play on defense."
Meanwhile, the Spartans of San José State are trying to win just its second game of the season. That doesn't mean that Utah State is going to take the Spartans lightly.
Particularly since San José State is No. 2 in the conference in turnover margin.3 comments on this story
"They’re taking the ball away on defense, but what they’re not doing is they’re not giving it up," Wells said. "When you do that, you keep yourself in a game. They’ve had some games that could’ve gone either way and some close losses, unfortunately for them. It’s a sign to me, as a sign of respect for how hard that team plays."
At any rate, Utah State is looking forward to sending out its seniors in style as they hope to continue on their winning ways one more time in front of its home crowd.