LOGAN — For a team looking to win its first game of the season, the Utah State Aggies couldn't have asked for a more formidable opponent than UNLV.
The Aggies haven't lost to the Rebels since 1994; granted they have only played two times in 11 years, but the Aggies have won two straight and eight of their last nine against UNLV (1-2).
Last year, the Aggies, despite giving up 550 yards to the Rebels, posted a 31-21 victory, which proved to be the end of UNLV coach John Robinson, who announced his resignation two days after the loss.
"They know that we beat them down there at their home field so they're going to come up here on our home field and try to redeem themselves," Utah State offensive tackle Donald Penn said.
The fact that today's 6 p.m. game (KJZZ-TV) is the home opener for the Aggies only increases UNLV's incentive.
The Rebels, however, have had a tough time in Logan — winning just two of seven games, while being outscored 130-37 in their five losses at Romney Stadium.
In fact, the Rebels' highest-scoring game in a loss was 10 points and that was in 1988.
The Aggies have scored 27 points or more on the Rebels three times in Logan. The fewest points the Aggies have scored against the Rebels is seven points. They did that three times, and ironically, won two of those games. In the last eight games at either site, the Aggies haven't scored fewer than 21 points.
"We have to keep that in our heads that they're going to come out with a chip on their shoulders so we'll have to sustain it to come out victorious," Penn said.
The Aggies are UNLV's third WAC opponent in three games. They beat Idaho on a late field goal two weeks ago and lost to Nevada last week.
UNLV coach Mike Sanford says his team will be thinking about the loss to the Aggies last year, but they have greater things to worry about at this point.
"I think there will be some revenge probably from the returning players, but the big thing we got to do, I believe, is identify the things that went wrong, correct them and put our players in a position to be successful," he said.
The Rebels were 0-3 when the Aggies beat them last year, while this year they are just 1-2, but Penn is quick to point out records can be deceiving.
"With the guys that played last year it's going to be in the back of their head, but you have to go into the game knowing that UNLV is a good team," he said.
Aggies on the air
UNLV (1-2) at Utah State (0-1)
Today, 6 p.m.
Radio: 610AM (Logan), 98.3FM (SLC)