Aggies take on the Cowboys for Homecomming

Defensive end John Chick missed Utah State's first three games this season, but he's back in the lineup and should be at his best Saturday. It's homecoming in Logan, and Chick's home-state team is coming to town.

Chick is from Gillette, Wyo., but Wyoming's former coaching staff did not recruit him. "Maybe you want to recruit in the state a little bit?" he said wryly at USU's weekly news conference. "It has always been kind of one thing that I have looked forward to, getting to play them," Chick added. "I can't wait for that." Having broken his thumb in preseason practice, Chick returned for USU's victory over Louisiana-Monroe on Sept. 27 and recorded one sack in that game and another in last week's loss at New Mexico. He's still wearing what he describes as "somewhat of a cast" on his hand. Injury report Coach Mick Dennehy labeled his team "a little bit thin . . . a little bit beat up." That was especially true at New Mexico. With cornerback Jerome Dennis out for the season and strong safety Mike Rosencrans home in Logan with a back injury, the Aggie secondary took another hit when cornerback Mark Estelle missed most of the second quarter with a cramp in his leg. "It gets frustrating at times, when you're looking to the bench to pull guys in and there's nobody left," said secondary coach John Rushing. "The one good thing is those young guys are getting experience and, fortunately, it hasn't been at the expense of a league loss." Rosencrans is expected to return Saturday, along with backup safety Ross Luna. The Aggies will need all of the talent -- and bodies -- they have available to deal with Wyoming's passing attack. "This week's going to be a true test of what we've got back here in the secondary," Rushing said. Offensively, receiver Raymond Hicks should return after missing most of the last two games. Tight end Chris Cooley hopes to play, but next week is more realistic as he recovers from a broken foot. Homecoming, really Utah State is a decent home team, but that's difficult to remember lately. The Aggies have won seven of their last nine home games (losing to Utah and Brigham Young), dating to the 2001 season, while playing 13 road games in that stretch. This year, four of USU's first five games were on the road. Three of the next four are at home. "It seems like we have been on the road forever," Dennehy said. "We are a better team at home. Most everybody is." Return visit Amid all of the Aggies' travels, they are playing Wyoming twice in a row at home as a concession the Cowboys made when they had to rearrange their schedule. Wyoming's last visit was in 2001, resulting in a wild finish when USU's Chris Stallworth caught a touchdown pass with 25 seconds remaining. But Stallworth was called for an excessive-celebration penalty and, after USU was moved back 15 yards, Wyoming blocked the extra point to preserve a 43-42 win. WYOMING at USU SATURDAY, 6 p.m

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