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Priority for USU coach is getting team to believe that it can win

Believe it or not, 2-6 Utah State has scored first in three games and led midway through the second quarter or at halftime in two others.

Getting his team to believe it can win has been one of the priorities for Utah State football coach Brent Guy.

"I told the kids after the game (27-17 loss to Louisiana Tech last week) that we are at a point where it is the difference of hoping we are going to win and believing we are going to win," he said.

The Aggies scored first against Utah and Fresno State only to lose 31-7 and 53-21, respectively, and they scored first against San Jose State and won 24-17.

Utah State led Boise State 14-10 midway through the second quarter before losing 45-21, while it led 16-10 over UNLV and eventually won 31-24.

Last Saturday against Louisiana Tech, the Aggies trailed by three points at halftime.

The Aggies look to snap a four-game losing streak when they visit Hawaii (3-6, 3-4) tonight at Aloha Stadium. Hawaii is sporting a two-game losing streak and is just 1-3 at home. The Aggies are 4-1 all-time against the Warriors, but the two schools haven't played since 1966.

"We had a lead on Boise and a lead on Fresno, but we continue to do the same things." Guy said, referring to turnovers and costly penalties.

"That frustrates me the most that we have got to get out of these guys the last three games that we have got to quit hoping we are going to win and that their team is going to put the ball on the ground for us and believe that we are going to win."

Despite the 10-point loss to Louisiana Tech, the Aggies should have a lot of confidence heading into tonight's game with Hawaii. They racked up a season-high 478 yards total offense, and quarterback Leon Jackson III threw for a career-high 376 yards.

Wide receiver Kevin Robinson had a career-high nine catches for 131 yards, while the defense held Louisiana Tech to a season-low 276 yards total offense.

The difference in the game was four Utah State turnovers.

"We did a lot of good things both on offense and defense at times," Guy said. "Basically it came down to holding onto the football and recovering the football, really."

With the four turnovers, Utah State fell to a minus-5 in turnover margin, and it faces a Hawaii team that is even in turnovers, which is third-best in the Western Athletic Conference.

Along with his 376 yards passing, Jackson rushed for 57 yards, while Ryan Bohm rushed for 43. Bohm was 6 yards shy of 100 yards against Alabama two weeks ago.

Guy said his team will have to be patient offensively.

"Defensively, they (the Warriors) are giving up some yards rushing the football," Guy said, "but they have a lot of different looks and a lot of different schemes that they give you."

The game kicks off at 9 p.m. (MST). For a time it was listed on the ESPN Game Plan package but pulled late in the week.


Aggies on the air

Utah State (2-6, 1-4) at Hawaii (3-6, 3-4)

Today, 9 p.m.

Aloha Stadium

TV: None

Radio: 610 AM (Logan), 98.3 FM (SLC)

Note: Results from this game will be in Monday's paper.


E-mail: jhinton@desnews.com