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2 Utes will be home on the range at A&M

Texas A&M knows a thing or two about Brandon Warfield.

An inside source has been providing the Aggies with information about the Utah tailback.

"He's been pumping me up to the A&M defense telling them I'm this and I'm that," Warfield explained. "So, I don't want to let him down. I'll have to have a big game again."

Besides, this is a family matter — albeit a friendly one.

L'Tydrick Riley, a Texas A&M wide receiver, is Warfield's cousin and his unofficial College Station press agent.

On Monday, there was more news to deliver. Warfield was named Mountain West Conference co-Offensive Player of the Week after leading the Utes to a 40-20 victory over Utah State. The senior, who scored a touchdown and averaged 5.2 yards per carry, has topped 100 yards rushing in three consecutive games dating back to last season.

"I enjoy running the ball a lot," Warfield said. "I'm just happy I got to get it that many times."

He's also glad to be going home this week. Warfield, and Riley for that matter, grew up in Crockett, Texas, about 1 1/2 hours from Kyle Field. Utah's first game in the Lone Star State in nearly six years is a big thing to him. The Utes and Aggies square off Saturday (6 p.m., KJZZ, Ch. 14).

Warfield and starting left guard Thomas Herrion, who is from Fort Worth, are the lone Texans on Utah's roster. Each is working hard to obtain tickets for family and friends anxious to make the trip. They are even willing to part with highly coveted BYU tickets in a swap with teammates.

"Me and Brandon are real fired up about going home," Herrion said. "It's going to be great. I sure can't wait."

The pair, who played together at Kilgore Junior College, is confident the Utes are in better shape than the Aggies. Utah's offseason conditioning program, coupled with new coach Urban Meyer's fast-paced spread offense, may provide an edge.

"The best-conditioned team will win," Herrion said. "They'll see a big 320-pound guy running down the field talking noise and still going. They're going to be like, 'Wow, what is he doing?' "

USU, he explained, was tired by game's end. Herrion was on the field for 80 snaps and is confident he can do it again — even in the heat and humidity of Texas.

"It's going to be fun," Herrion said. "I hope they're overlooking us. We're going to come out and show what Utah is all about."

Warfield also thinks the Mountain West Conference is often overlooked, but he doesn't care.

"That doesn't matter," he said. "We come to win. We come to play. That's all that counts to us."

Even a homecoming of sorts isn't comfortable. Utah's schedule, Warfield acknowledged, dictates that the Utes stay focused.

"They know about football down there at home," Herrion noted. "But I think Utah does, too."


Deseret News sports writer Linda Hamilton contributed to this report.

E-mail: dirk@desnews.com