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Little brother? It's great to be an Aggie after USU beats BYU in Provo

PROVO — It’s pretty easy to be a Utah State fan right now, but it hasn’t always been that way.

USU loyalists Steven Edge, Tanner Richardson and Russell Murphy remember much tougher times — when two wins over BYU in 10 years was considered a good decade.

The three friends from Logan were Aggie fans before it was cool.

“It’s kind of like being a Cubs fan right before the Cubs were good,” Richardson joked.

“I remember watching them with Brent Guy when they couldn’t make it past the 50-yard line,” Edge said, laughing. “BYU was (like) that last year. That was an entire season for us.”

“That,” Richardson added, “was an entire era.”

Not anymore.

With its convincing 45-20 win over the Cougars at LaVell Edwards Stadium, USU showed it very well could be the best football team in the 435, 385 and 801 area codes.

If the Aggies ever felt like the third wheel in relation to the more prominent teams in the state — BYU and Utah — those feelings are fading.

“We’re not looking for attention this year. We’re feeling pretty good,” said USU alumnus Mark Davis of Riverton. “Best football team in the state.”

To Davis’s credit, he said that before kickoff of this lopsided showdown. The thousands of Aggie fans — the ones who had As on their navy blue gear, not Ys — were in an even better mood after the blowout in enemy territory.

“It’s a great feeling,” Utah State offensive lineman Roman Andrus said.

There might not have been a happier family than the Andrus clan from El Dorado Hills, California (outside of Sacramento).

If that last name rings a bell to BYU fans, there’s a good reason. Andrus, now a senior, used to be a Cougar, which is part of the reason he stayed hours after the victory and celebrated with his mom and dad — both BYU graduates — and his brothers, sisters and family friends. The Andrus party eventually moved from outside the visitors locker room — where Aggies congregated and celebrated the victory — to the football field for postgame pictures and to soak in the ambiance.

Andrus was on the BYU squad as a defensive lineman before his LDS mission in 2012, and again in 2015 before transferring to Snow College and then to his adopted home in Logan.

“It isn’t the dream that he prayed for,” Roman’s father, former Utah Valley and Hawaii basketball player Alan Andrus, said, “but it’s better than he could have hoped for.”

There are some noticeable differences with the younger Andrus in his post-BYU life. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound left tackle now sports a bushy red beard — “That’s a little benefit,” he joked — and he plays on the offensive line instead of on the defensive line like he did at the Y.

“For whatever reason,” Andrus said, “it just didn’t quite work out (at BYU).”

The Aggies coaching staff saw potential in the massive young man on the O-line even though he’d always played on the D-line. Andrus credits his coaches for being patient, putting in extra work to help him learn a new position and for giving him a chance to play.

Safe to say, the childhood BYU diehard is now an Aggie at heart.

“It’s been a great experience,” Andrus said. “Utah State has a very special place in my heart, for sure.”

Playing time, his current team, beating old teammates and facial hair aren’t the only things Andrus prefers about USU.

“Utah State ice cream,” said a big boy who has a knowledge of both famous university creameries.

He’s not the only USU convert with that opinion.

The parents of tight end Dax Raymond — ex-BYU track standout Ronn Raymond and former Cougarette Alecia Raymond, who danced in the 1984 Holiday Bowl — both give a nod to the school that won them over.

“We love the (BYU) creamery,” Ronn said. “However, they know their agriculture up there in Logan. They’ve got it licked. We’ll vote for the Aggie ice cream anytime.”

The family is now fully in the camp of the school that doesn’t switch between navy and royal.

“The minute Dax started playing for Utah State, we switched and it was an easy switch,” Alecia said. “We love Utah State and we love Logan.”

“In retrospect,” Ronn added, “I don’t think anybody could be as good to Dax as Utah State is. It took a months (to transition) because I had season tickets here for 20 years. … We didn’t know anything else (but BYU), but it opened our eyes to what other programs are like, and the beauty of Utah State won us over pretty rapidly.”

Here are some other things via Twitter that won over USU fans in comparison to BYU:

“I know a lot of people who would argue USU is better because of the lack of an honor code.”

“The ice cream, of course. Also, when it comes to (LDS) prophets: USU 2, BYU 0.”

“Coach Wells loves his players. He spent so much time with our family after Brady’s accident. He always makes time to see Brady whenever possible. The entire coaching staff would visit too. What a great example of team and community.” — Brady Holt’s aunt, Carrie Vader

“Beards.”

“It’s not in Provo.”

“No guilt culture at USU.”

“Better student sections at sporting events.”

“Everything.”

“The football team, by a considerable margin.”

“Location at the mouth of Logan canyon adds to a beautiful Campus.”

“I passed over BYU for Utah State because it felt so much more personable and I loved Cache Valley. So beautiful, not crowded.”

“I was treated like an actual adult for 3 years. And I could have facial hair.”

“The athletic athletes they have. The QB. Their coach. Their special teams. Oh wait. Just their whole team is better.”

“Absolutely nothing. USU has nothing better than BYU.”

Well, there was one thing USU had in its favor on Friday night, at least.

“The scoreboard.”

Edge pointed out that there really aren’t that many differences between fans of the two northern Utah universities with mostly LDS fan bases, but he still has a fun time hating on his brothers down south.

“The little brother aspect … always bugs me,” Edge said. “I feel like sometimes BYU is like, ‘Oh, we’re so much better.’ It’s like, ‘Not really. We’re all gonna meet up tomorrow anyway (at LDS General Conference). It’s not like you’re better than us.′”

Davis and his wife, Brynn, joked about being “Aggie rebels” for sneaking caffeinated Diet Mountain Dew into the stadium — it’s apparently extra caffeinated compared to the caffeine drinks now sold at BYU — but the faithful USU supporters can’t find it in their heart to hate the Cougars as much as they’d like to.

“I struggle because everyone down here is super nice when we’re here,” Mark Davis said, smiling. “I have a hard time with it. They’re polite to us. They’re cordial. It’s fully inappropriate.”

Brynn Davis confirmed his story. She was astonished that a BYU fan told them “Welcome to our stadium” when they entered the grounds fully decked out in USU attire before kickoff.

“It’s true. They are very nice to us,” she said. “Last time we came to this game, they said, ‘Oh you guys did so great. That was so close. Good job.’”

You'll have to ask the Davis couple if they offered cordial condolences after the Aggies left this game in possession of the coveted Wagon Wheel for a second year in a row.

Either way, as they say in Logan — and in Provo after fun wins — it's great to be an Aggie.