With their hopes for a Big West title lessened considerably following a 34-7 loss to Fresno State Saturday, the Utah State Aggies will have to redefine goals a bit for their final five games.
Oh, the Aggies aren't out of the Big West race with just one league loss. But considering that Fresno State is unbeaten and playing as well as it is, it's unlikely the Bulldogs will suffer any more losses in Big West play. That means the Bulldogs will likely play in their third straight California Raisin Bowl. Their toughest remaining game is at home with San Jose State in three weeks.The Aggies also get San Jose at home (Nov. 11), and they have road games against four of the league's lesser lights, beginning with New Mexico State Saturday. So a winning season - something the Aggies haven't had in a decade - isn't out of the question.
The Aggies actually looked pretty good at times Saturday. Their defense was as good as it has been all season. The Bulldogs, who were ranked eighth in the nation coming into the game, had just over 300 yards entering the fourth quarter, when they finally broke loose.
"We stopped their run pretty good and did what we wanted to defensively," said Aggie Coach Chuck Shelton. "But in the fourth quarter I didn't think our defense rose to the occasion."
Offensively the Aggies had their moments, but except for five big passes covering 53, 56, 31, 24 and 24 yards, they struggled. They finished with minus 25 yards rushing as quarterback Johnson was sacked six times for a negative 52 yards.
The Aggies lost three fumbles in the first half, including one late in the period when they got down to the 5-yard line trailing just 13-7.
In New Mexico State, the Aggies will be facing a hungry 0-6 team that hasn't won a league game in more than three years. After this week, the Ags will have a bye before going back on the road to play Pacific.