Utah State coach Gary Andersen sees a lot to admire in Boise State.The sixth-ranked Broncos are poised for their seventh Western Athletic Conference title in eight years and possibly a second trip to the Bowl Championship Series.Andersen has spent the week trying to figure out how to stop the Broncos when they visit Utah State on Friday night. It’s been a long week.”Boise State is a tremendous football team. There is not a weakness,” said Andersen, who is in his first year coaching the Aggies. “They are a very well-rounded and established program. I have respect for them from A to Z.”Boise State (10-0, 5-0) has the kind of program Andersen would love to build at Utah State, but he knows the Aggies (3-7, 2-4) have a long way to go.”To me, a defining championship and bowl team is a team that says, ‘Here is what we do. We have good players and you have to find a way to stop us,'” Andersen said. “That is their identity and they are very good at it and have been for years.”It’s a 300-mile drive from Boise to Logan in northern Utah, close enough that the Broncos planned to travel by bus. Bronco fans have also made the drive in the past and snapped up the available tickets Aggies’ fans weren’t interested in and made Romney Stadium almost into a second home for the Broncos.The Aggies hope they’ve made enough improvements this season that Utah State fans will endure the cold night and make this a real home game.”We want to make sure the whole area knows our win-loss record does not reflect the type of team that we are,” Utah State linebacker Adrian Bybee said. “This game is a big game for the seniors. It is a big game for this program. Filling that stadium with more blue than orange will help us.”A native of Pocatello, Bybee is the only player from Idaho on Utah State’s roster. He remembers growing up and following the Broncos’ emergence.”I always liked their program but when it comes down to us playing them, I don’t like them at all,” Bybee said.The Broncos have stormed through their first 10 games, averaging nearly 44 points while holding their opponents to 17. Tulsa was the only team to stay within single digits this season, but still lost to Boise State 28-21 on Oct. 14. That was the only game this season Boise State trailed.Last week the Broncos blew out state rival Idaho 63-25, forcing the Vandals into committing seven turnovers.With games remaining against Utah State, Nevada and New Mexico State, the Broncos know they are in position and only an upset can derail their second straight unbeaten regular season.”Right after a really emotional week, no time to regroup,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. “We’ve got to go.”Although he is in his first year at Utah State, Andersen has seen Boise State up close before – and it wasn’t pleasant. Andersen was Utah’s defensive coordinator in 2006 when the Broncos came to Salt Lake City and blew out the Utes 36-3.The Broncos went unbeaten that season, finishing it off with a thrilling upset of Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.”They are deserving of where they sit in the national rankings and I am not sure they shouldn’t be higher,” Andersen said.Andersen has already made strides at Utah State. The Aggies locked up their first winning record at home since 2003 by beating San Jose State 24-9, also tying last year’s overall win total with three.If the Aggies can pull off an upset in either of their last two games, Friday against Boise State or the season finale at Idaho, the four wins would be the most for Utah State since coach Mick Dennehy’s team went 4-7.But getting the fourth win on Friday would make this a monumental season at Utah State.”We’ll get their best shot without question, which is a little bit scary. Because I’ve seen their best shot on tape, and it’s pretty good,” Petersen said. “The main thing is, it comes back to us. We’ve got to play the best we can play, and we’ve got to play at a high level. I think we know what we’re going to get from their side.”
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