"We have got to stay humble and hungry," said Filimoeatu. "With our defense playing how it is in the past two games, I think we can do anything right now."
When Utah State (2-0) plays Wisconsin at 7 p.m. Saturday, it will add another opportunity for the Aggies to register a real landmark victory. A year ago, Utah State led defending national champion Auburn deep into the game before letting the Tigers storm back in the fourth quarter. The Aggies also lost by three at BYU and by one to Ohio in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. In 2010, Utah State went toe-to-toe at No.7 Oklahoma before falling by seven.
"We lost last year in the bowl game and I think that just taught us what we have to do now," said senior receiver Matt Austin. "We have to take the next step and last year we didn't finish in the fourth quarters and stuff like that. I know a lot of people were probably in the stands hanging their heads a little bit and I liked how we proved everyone wrong."
Now the Aggies have a victory over rival Utah, are 2-0 for the first time since 1997, got their first vote in the AP poll since 1966 and are looking to win again at Camp Randall Stadium.
"It will be a hostile environment, I'm sure," said head coach Gary Anderson, as Utah State won 20-0 at Camp Randall in 1968. "I look for that to hopefully not phase a young team. A lot of these kids have been in situations like that, in big stadiums. A lot of them haven't, so how we react to that I think will be key and we are excited about the opportunity to line up and play."
When the Wisconsin nonconference schedule originally came out, fans simply viewed Utah State as a team coming to collect a $925,000 guaranteed paycheck in exchange for being a sacrificial lamb against the big Badgers running machine. Through two weeks of the season, Wisconsin – despite opening as 14-point favorites for this weekend's game – looks like the team struggling.
Wisconsin ranks 103rd in the country in rushing (101.5 yards per game) and 105th in total offense (297 per game), numbers that led to the firing of first-year offensive line coach Mike Markuson Sunday. Utah State ranks 31st (214.5 ypg) and 35th in total offense (474.5 ypg) in each of those categories, respectively, behind three members of its offensive line that have 69 combines starts between them.
The Aggies are stout against the run and like to mix coverages and blitzes, a reason they are 19th in the country in total defense (267.0 ypg) and 20th against the run (76.0 ypg).
"We're playing a great opponent," said Wisconsin offensive coordinator Matt Canada. "They played Auburn extremely tough last year and they are a very good football program. They had a great win last week over their rival. They are a very aggressive defense. A very skilled defense. It'll be a challenge for any offense."
The biggest challenges come from its quarterback Chuckie Keeton and punter Tyler Bennett, both of whom were named WAC players of the week following the Utah victory. Keeton led a potent Aggies attack by completing 68.8 percent of his passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns. He's also a weapon with his legs, as Keeton finished with 86 rushing yards, including a 23-yard scamper on third-and-9 that set up the winning overtime touchdown.
"We knew walking into that game that Chuckie was going to have to make some spectacular plays," said Anderson. "Whether it was with his arm or whether it was with his feet. "One of the biggest plays, if not the biggest play since I have been here and probably a long time in Aggie football, with the run there in the overtime period. He made some other plays with his feet. I thought the option game gave us an opportunity to move down the field a couple of times."
Bennett punted nine times, averaged 45.3 yards per punt, hit a long of 59 yards and put four inside the 20-yard line; a main reason the Utes average starting field position was their 28-yard line. Bennett combined with the team's defense makes the Aggies a potent unit.
On Tuesday, Wisconsin limited the talking heads for media interviews to five upperclassmen or captains – senior Montee Ball, senior Ricky Wagner, junior Jeff Duckworth, junior Danny O'Brien and junior Jacob Pedersen. The group put on a unified front; complimenting the team's hunger, its work ethic and the willingness to turn the page.
With a touch of orneriness, Utah State knows that the Badgers' loss will give the Aggies Wisconsin's best effort.
"(The Badgers) are champions," said Anderson. "They expect to win every game … They are expected to play at a high, high national level and that is what their program is and I am sure that is what their coaches and players expect. They stubbed their toe, but for them that was simply round two and they lost round two. At the end of 13 rounds or 12 rounds, however many rounds that you get to play throughout the year, round two won't mean a whole lot if you don't allow it to mean a lot."
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