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Ags look to upset Ducks

It’s a long shot, but precedent got set last weekend

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No one gives Utah State any chance to defeat No. 6-ranked Oregon when it pays a visit to Logan this week. After all, the Ducks are 3-0, the Aggies are 0-3, and in their history, they are just 1-32 all-time against ranked opponents.

However, if Utah State coach Mick Dennehy hasn't already thought of it, he could use an example from last week's college action to motivate his team against the highly touted Ducks Saturday night.

Last Saturday No. 5 Florida State was a 17-point favorite over a 0-3 North Carolina team playing at home . . . and lost 41-9.

The parallels this week are almost identical. Oregon is ranked No. 6 and favored by 15 points. USU is 0-3 and playing at home.

Dennehy can remind his team that it's indeed possible for a 0-3 team to upset a Top Ten team and even win convincingly.

On the other hand, Oregon coach Mike Bellotti will probably be using the same game as a motivational tool to keep his team from looking past the Aggies.

Actually Dennehy doesn't usually resort to gimmicks to get his team fired up.

"I'll tell the team the same thing I tell them every week, that (Oregon) is not any better than us," he said. "I think we can line up and play with these guys."

THE CHART: A lot of folks wondered about Dennehy's decision to go for two in Saturday's game against Wyoming with a 36-25 lead in the third quarter. It seemed obvious to get more than an 11-point lead, which would only require the Cowboys to score a touchdown and a two-point conversion and a field goal to tie the game. With a 12-point deficit the Cowboys would need at least two touchdowns to catch up.

However "the chart" told Dennehy it was smarter to go for two than one in that situation.

So what the heck is "the chart?"

It's something every football coach keeps in his pocket to tell him quickly what to do in various situations on point-after tries. In this case, Dennehy said, "The chart said to get it to 13."

After getting pushed back because of a penalty, the Aggies came within inches of succeeding as Jose Fuentes' pass hit Kevin Curtis at the goal line, but the ball wasn't ruled over the line. That left the Aggies with an 11-point lead and sure enough, the Cowboys came back with a touchdown and a two-point conversion and a field goal to tie the score.

THEY'RE NO. 1: The Aggies have several players ranked in the top 10 in the nation, including two players at the top of the charts.

Kevin Curtis is still No. 1 in receptions with 10.7 per game and also ranked No. 3 in receiving yards with 130 per game.

Emmett White has moved back into first place in the nation in all-purpose running with a 218-yard average. He also ranks No. 5 in rushing with 154.3 yards per game.

Steve Mullins ranks sixth in the nation in punting with a 47.4-yard average.

Jose Fuentes is third in the nation in pass completions with 27.7 per game.

AGNOTES: Fuentes sprained his right ankle late in the third quarter Saturday night and sat out a series before returning in the fourth quarter. However, he is expected to play and was to start practicing at least by Wednesday . . . In moving to eighth place on the USU career passing list, Fuentes ironically passed up the man he replaced last year, Jeff Crosbie. When Fuentes went out with his injury Saturday, Crosbie replaced him and completed one pass for four yards . . . USU's second-quarter woes continued Saturday as the Cowboys outscored them 16-10. That means the Ags have been outscored 53-13 in the second quarter, while outscoring their opponents in every other quarter . . . Saturday's crowd of 27,235 was the eighth best in Romney Stadium history and the best in a game without Utah or BYU as a USU opponent.


E-mail: sor@desnews.com