Big Al

Notes for Arkansas State at Utah State

Utah State notes

Utah State is the only FBS program to have new offensive and defensive coordinators for the third straight season under the same head coach. •

While Arkansas State was struggling against Auburn, Utah State had its hands full vs USC.  Against Power 5 opponents, Utah State has lost six straight dating back to 2012. The Aggies’ last victory against a Power 5 school was on Sept. 7, 2012 vs. Utah, defeating the Utes 27-20 in OT.

Running free

A big part of the Aggies’ offense is running. When producing a 100-yard rusher, the Aggies have won 21 of 22 contests. Utah State had won 20 straight games when accomplishing this feat before dropping the 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl 23-21 to Akron.

In the Aggies’ opener vs. Weber State, senior RB Devante Mays ran for a career-best 208 yards and a career-high-tying three touchdowns. He is the first USU player to rush for at least 200 yards since 2012 (Kerwynn Williams - 235). Mays’ total was third-best on opening weekend.

Utah State rushed for 428 yards against Weber State, the seventh most in program history.

Entering the 2016 season, Utah State has five players who have already received degrees in senior WR Andrew Rodriguez (interdisciplinary studies), redshirt senior NG Travis Seefeldt (management information systems), senior OL Jake Simonich (sociology), senior OL Austin Stephens (interdisciplinary studies), and senior K Brock Warren (family, consumer and human development).

Back at home

In Logan, Utah State has won 24 of its last 27 games, including 13 of last 16 against non-conference foes. Under Matt Wells, the Aggies are 16-3 at home, including 5-2 against nonconference competition.

USU is 11-4 under Wells following a loss, and has only lost back-to-back games four times in the last five years.

Utah State has won 42 of its last 61 games (.689) to rank as the third-most wins in the West behind Oregon (53) and Boise State (47) over the last five seasons.

Tidbits:  The Aggies lost to USC 45-7, the largest worst under Wells. It was USU’s worst loss since a 45-7 defeat by Hawai‘i on Oct. 23, 2010. Utah State is the only FBS program to have new offensive and defensive coordinators for the third-straight season under the same head coach.

What’s been said

Utah State coach Matt Wells on Hans and Scotty Radio show on 1280 the Zone.

“I have a lot of respect for Arkansas State but we are going to be ready to play too on Friday night. We are a little beat up and got our pride hurt a little bit.

“Tremendous amount of respect for Arkansas State and their program and they have certainly played two good teams so they are going to be itching to get a win but I hope you see an Aggie team that is a little ticked off too.

At weekly press conference:

"We went down to Jonesboro two years ago and played them and it was a very competitive game. The biggest thing I remember about that game is we had some red-zone issues on offense early in the game and those haunted us later in the game. We had some turnovers in the red zone and missed a field goal at the end to win it, and we got beat in overtime. This is a talented team that I have a lot of respect for. I've known Blake Anderson for a long time, since my first year of coaching, so I've known him for 20 years. We've been good friends for a long time and I have a lot of respect for him and his program, and the program before he even got there. Arkansas State has been to five straight bowl games and they've been conference champs in the Sun Belt for a lot of years. They have multiple rings in that complex and multiple trophies in that complex. Our guys are well aware of that, especially our veterans that went down there two years ago and they know they're a tough, competitive team with a lot of skill. They are very big this year on the defensive line and they've got some big, heavy defensive tackles and nose guards. They have a couple of transfers on offense at receiver, so they are a very skilled operation. They have a transfer quarterback who is a little bit of a veteran, so it will be a very competitive game and one that we're looking forward to getting back at home in front of our home crowd, and getting back to what we do best."

They are a very similar program to us and our players know that. You just look at what they've done the last six years and the competitive game we had two years ago, and our veterans know that. We had three offensive linemen that played in the game and a quarterback who was on that trip. LaJuan Hunt and Wyatt Houston both played in the game. We've got a lot of guys who played in that game and they remember Arkansas State. They know it's a competitive team and a very skillful team. Arkansas State will be very aggressive on offense and special teams."

Senior Tight End Wyatt Houston

On the USC game and Arkansas State's defense:

"Obviously, we didn't do too well against USC offensively. We didn't run the ball well, but I thought we had some positives in the throwing game.  We had a hard time putting drives together. They were very athletic and had a lot of speed on the field. Overall, we need to do a better job. Arkansas State, they're going to be fast and athletic, just like they were in 2013. That's all I've seen so far from tape."

On the opportunity to have another chance to play against Arkansas State:

"Yeah, that was definitely a tough loss to lose in overtime. I'm definitely looking forward to it because I know it's going to be a good game and they're a good team. They're pretty similar to us just in the fact that they're a good team and they're probably one of the better group of five teams. It's going to be a good game. We have to come ready to play because they got the best of us last time, and hopefully we can get them this time."

Junior Cornerback Jalen Davis

On if he's watched any Arkansas State film yet:

"I haven't, but I heard they have some really nice receivers and they have a great quarterback, so I'm excited to go out there and see what will happen on Friday."

On Arkansas State's speed and talent:

"That's something we like to have. It's nice to go out there and be competitive, to compete out there. It's going to be a great game, a great battle on Friday."