Friday USU Notes

News and notes out Utah State's camp heading into Saturday's game at Death Valley. <BR>

Game Captains
The USU football team has selected season captains for the second straight year. QB Travis Cox (#4) will represent the offense, LB Robert Watts (#30) will represent the defense and CB/KOR Jerome Dennis (#20) will represent the special teams.

An USU Win Would:
* Give USU its third win of the year, matching last year's season victory total (3-9).

* Be its first against a member of one of the big six conferences since beating Kansas State of the then Big Eight in 1992.

* Stop a two-game losing streak.

* Give USU two road wins this season for its most since posting a 2-4 road record in 2000.

An USU Loss Would:
* Give USU three straight losses.

* Drop USU to 0-3 against current members of the ACC all-time.

What to Watch from USU Saturday:
* DL Ronald Tupea should make his team-best 37th consecutive start as well as his team-best 37th career start.

* Other Aggies with long current consecutive start streaks include OT Donald Penn (27), LB Robert Watts (23) and QB Travis Cox (18).

* QB Travis Cox enters the game with 4,042 career passing yards and needs just 141 yards to pass Ron Lopez (4,182) for seventh on the USU career passing yardage list.

* Cox has thrown at least one touchdown pass in seven straight games and in 17 of his 18 career starts.

* USU has had at least seven different players record a reception in 11 consecutive games.

Newcomers Standing Out
Here is a look at how much influence USU's freshmen and newcomers are having on the team this season:

Rushing - Fr. Chris Forbes leads the team while newcomers Rod McNeal and Peter Shields are second and third respectively.

Receiving - Fr. Kevin Robinson is second in catches and yards.

Scoring - Fr. Kevin Robinson leads the team, while Fr. Chris Forbes is tied for second. Of the Eight players with touchdowns, three are freshman (Robinson, Forbes, and Tarrell Richards). Newcomer Blake Garrett's first collegiate reception was for a touchdown.

Interceptions - Fr. Antonio Taylor is tied for the team lead with two pickoffs, wile newcomer Jarrett Bush is tied for third with one.

Punt Returns - Fr. Kevin Robinson leads not only the team, but the NCAA, while newcomers Jarrett Bush and Rod McNeal are second and third on the team.

Kickoff Returns - Newcomer Rod McNeal leads the team while Fr. Kevin Robinson is third.

Starting Lineup - Freshmen who have started include OG Pace Jorgensen (5 games), FS Antonio Taylor (2), TB Chris Forbes (3), TE Jimmy Bohm (2), OT E.J. Reid (2), WR Kevin Robinson (2). Non freshman newcomers who have started include OT Justin Schlimgen (4), WR Rod McNeal (3), CB Jarrett Bush (1), and TB Peter Shields (1).

USU Southeast Flavor
While Utah State does not have any players on its roster from the state of South Carolina, several Aggies are from the southeast part of the country in TB Chris Forbes (Miami, Fla.), WR Rod McNeal (Lakeland, Fla.), TB Peter Shields (Seminole, Fla.), FB Gabe London (Lakeland, Fla.), OL Chad Foote (Hattiesburg, Miss.), DT Casey Cooper (Springfield, Va.).

Recent South Carolina Connection
One of USU's recent basketball standouts, Marcus Saxon is from Columbia (A.C. Flora HS), South Carolina. Saxon, former two-time all-state selection in high school, was a two-time first-team all-Big West selection at Utah State and led the Aggies to the 1998 NCAA Tournament.

Long Road Trip Utah State will travel 2,029 miles one way for the Clemson game. Here is a look at the longest road trips in USU history based on one-way mileage (according to Rand McNally):

Opponent Year Miles (one way) Result
1. at Miami 1978 2,667 L 16-17
2. at South Florida 2001 2,425 L 13-34
3. at Connecticut 2001 2,354 W 38-31
4. at Florida State 1975 2,213 L 8-17
5. at Army 1969 2,183 W 23-7
6. at Clemson 2004 2,029

First Trip to SC
The state of South Carolina will be the 33rd different state that Utah State's football team will have traveled to in its history. It is also the 15th different state the Aggies have traveled to in the five-year Mick Dennehy era (USU will also make its first trip to Arkansas in the Dennehy era when the Aggies play at Arkansas State on Nov. 11).

USU NOTE-ABLE
USU has had four different players record at least five catches in a game this year and each of those players have accomplished that feat twice (Raymond Hicks, Rod McNeal, Tony Pennyman (three times), and Kevin Robinson)... This will be just the second game this year USU will play on natural grass (Alabama) (USU replaced its natural grass with SprintTurf this season)... USU is 12-12 in day games as opposed to 6-21 in night contests in the Mick Dennehy era... USU has had a different leading rusher in each of its last three games (McNeal vs. UNLV, Cox vs. Troy and Shields vs. North Texas).

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