Around this time last year, things couldn't have been going any better for Utah State quarterback Travis Cox.
The Aggies had won 2 of their last 3 games and were 3-2 in Sun Belt Conference play heading into their contest with Troy University.
Then came the stroke of bad luck.
Cox, who has completed 14-of-20 passes for 140 yards and had rushed for a touchdown, injured his neck in the first series of the second half with his team trailing 17-14 and never returned.
"I felt like I was just getting in the hang of everything and what they were doing to us defensively. We were starting to click a lot more," Cox recalled. "I was anxious to get back out there (after halftime) and get the team rolling and get some more points on the board."
The Aggies were held scoreless in the second half on just 112 yards total offense in losing 23-14.
Cox is hoping for a different result when the two teams square off today at 1:30 p.m. (MDT) in Troy, Ala.
"It was a disappointing thing, so I can't wait to get out there," he said.
The Aggies (2-2, 1-0) are coming off a 31-21 victory over UNLV last Saturday, while the Trojans have lost back-to-back games to New Mexico State — a Sun Belt Conference game — and South Carolina.
Currently, Utah State, La.-Lafayette, New Mexico State and Arkansas State are 1-0 atop the Sun Belt Conference standing, so it's important the Aggies get a victory and remain there.
"This is probably one of the biggest games that I will have played in or been a part of since I've been here," Cox said. "It will be a good challenge for us. If we can win this game it will set up our season really nice, so I am looking forward to it."
The Aggies scored the most points of the year at UNLV last week, but had only 291 yards total offense. The defense gave up an astounding 550 yards total offense to the Rebels, but forced five turnovers and multiple goal-line stands.
"If we continue to get some turnover and continue to capitalize on them we will enhance our chances of winning," Utah State coach Mick Dennehy said.
Despite the poor offensive output yardage-wise, the Aggies turned in their best game running the ball with 114 yards. It was the first time they have gone over 100 yards this season.
Cox has thrown for 716 yards, and after throwing two interceptions in each of the first three games, didn't allow one against UNLV.
Aggies in Alabama
Utah State (2-2, 1-0) at Troy (2-2, 0-1)
Today, 1:30 p.m. (MDT), Movie Gallery Stadium
Radio: 610 AM (Logan), 98.3 FM (SLC)