Fresh off a potentially season-changing win over Air Force, Utah State travels to rival Colorado State on Saturday, hoping to string together multiple wins in order to keep the hope of a run at the Mountain West Conference championship alive — as well as bowl eligibility.
The Rams are similar to the Aggies in many ways this year, as a young team that struggled early in the season but recently found a way to pick up a key conference victory (Colorado State defeated Nevada last weekend for its first win of the season).
On Monday, CSU head coach Jay Norvell spoke with media about the challenge that Utah State will pose for his team, and expressed nothing but admiration for what the Aggies have done under Utah State head coach Blake Anderson.
“We are very excited to come back home and play a really competitive Utah State team,” Norvell said. “They are well coached... and I have a lot of respect for (Anderson) and his teams.”
Norvell noted that USU’s win over Air Force was a significant one, and that the Aggies seem to come into their own a little bit as a result.
“This is a hard playing team that is getting better,” Norvell said. “They won a big game this weekend. Have had some issues, have had to play different quarterbacks, but they won a really important game last week against Air Force and seem to have found themselves.”
Norvell expressed a real concern about containing USU’s offense, a statement about Utah State’s turnaround more than anything else, and praised the aggressive nature of the Aggies’ defense.
“They are a spread option team ... and they kind of spread things out, they go fast and make you cover their wide receivers,” he said. “Then they do a good job running the football downhill, much like the old Baylor teams did in the Big 12 when I was there. Really important that we handle them offensively.
“Defensively they’ve done a good job. They play awfully hard, and played some really good teams in the preseason. Really active team, physical defense and extremely aggressive.”