Ever since the ’08 season I have paid close attention to the BYU/USU football game. Why? Something happened that game that hadn’t happened to that point in the season. Utah State made BYU look beatable.
Up to that point (excluding the close call at Washington) BYU looked unstoppable. They tore through UCLA and Wyoming in consecutive shut outs in Provo, Max Hall, Austin Collie, and Dennis Pitta were on a tear. BYU was the “it” team in the non-AQ world at the time.
I wasn’t alone in thinking BYU would beat Utah State mercilessly, as Utah had done in Logan earlier that season. And the game did start that way.
BYU led 34-0 going into the 4th quarter. Utah State scored on a 40 yard run by Robert Turbin and then on a 5 yard pass to Tarren Lloyd from Diondre Borel to pull it to 34-14 with 9:22 left in the game. Then, Utah State recovers the ensuing onside kick, which was called back on a USU penalty…but anyway, to make a short story long, Utah State made BYU look human in that game and its stuck with the Aggies.
Last year, in Provo, Utah State went down south to face the Cougars. Although BYU beat them again comfortably, Utah State seemed to step up their game. I was in attendance for the second half of that game and for whatever reason, the Cougars just bring out the best in the Aggies.
This is not just the case in football. In fact, it’s worse on the hardwood.
Let’s not fool ourselves. Utah State struggles in football. They have their moments but basketball is the bread and butter up in Cache Valley and when BYU comes to town, let’s just say Utah’s enthusiam doesn’t hold a candle to Utah State’s hatred for the “Y”.
I don’t understand it, can’t explain it, but Utah State brings their A+ game against the Cougars.
Which is why Im so stoked for tonights game in Logan. The dynamic of this rivalry has the potential for a huge shift now that for the first time in 10+ years, the outcome of this game is not certain in BYU’s favor. Likely? Maybe, but not certain.
Both teams will enter this game with matching records for the season. And although I’m positive they each wish that record wasn’t 1-3, each fanbase believes they should win this game.
Utah State started the season with a promising start, losing by just 7 to a #7 ranked Oklahoma team. They followed that with a dominating performance over Idaho State the next week and 2 disappointing losses week 3 and 4. Should they lose to BYU, they still have 5 teams remaining on their schedule that they can, and I think should, beat. Making them bowl-eligible for the first time in a long while.
BYU also started their season on a high note, beating Washington in Provo week 1. Since then, they have struggled to find their rhythm on offense and defense. When asked about his feelings on the upcoming game, BYU grad and fan, Andrew Madsen said “our start has been a big disappointment, on the one hand, but not nearly as horrifying as it would’ve been last year since we were expecting to go through some rebuilding this season. That said, last week saw a lot of potential for the future. We’re starting to see some players grow into their new roles and some of the them will definitely be big stars in the coming seasons. I think we’re starting to establish a rhythm, and the USU game will be a good way to get back on track.”
I think that’s the general feeling down in Provo.
We Ute fans have the week off and you can bet most have an interest in this game. Personally, I want every team on the Utes’ schedule to have a single loss by way of the U (wildly impossible, I know) so half of me wants BYU to win. The other half is rooting for the kid brother Utah State to have his day and beat bitter, and getting increasingly more bitter, rival BYU.
The war begins at 8pm EST on ESPN.