Utah State’s 2011 Football schedule includes third-straight season with nationally televised game

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State football will be playing in a nationally televised game for the third season in a row, as the Aggies’ 2011 game at in-state rival Brigham Young will be on ESPN, highlighting USU’s 2011 schedule which was released Monday by the Western Athletic Conference. The Aggies and Cougars will tangle on Friday, Sept. 30 at 6 p.m. (MT) at Provo, Utah, and a nationally televised audience will watch the battle for the Old Wagon Wheel on ESPN, in the 81st meeting between USU and BYU, and on a Friday night for the 14th time in the last 18 meetings since 1987. “It is a very positive schedule for us,” USU head coach Gary Andersen said. “We have a national TV game on ESPN and I’m sure we’ll have numerous other games on TV, which is always a huge plus for our program. Overall, it is a quality schedule, we get to play the national champions, as part of five bowl teams. We also have six home games, which is a plus for our program, our fans and our community.” The USU-BYU game is one of two games involving a WAC team already scheduled with ESPN on ESPN2. The other telecast that has been announced is Fresno State hosting Boise State in a non-conference game on Friday, October 7. The game will be shown on one of the ESPN networks. Other games to be televised on ESPN networks, along with starting times, will be determined later this spring. The WAC Sports Network will again broadcast several games during the 2011 season. Those selections will also be made at a later date. As part of the 14-week, 12-game schedule, USU will have two bye weeks in 2011, in week three in between the Aggies’ lone back-to-back home games, and in week nine. “I think the spacing of the two byes is as good as we can get for having two byes in our schedule,” Andersen said. “It will be a nice break to play two games and then have a bye, it spaces out well. We then play five games and have another bye, and then play five more games to end the regular season. We’re excited about our schedule and ready to go. Right now our main focus is on spring football which starts Wednesday in preparation for the 2011 season.” USU will play a total of 12 games in 2011, hosting six games, including three non-conference games and three WAC games, while playing six road games. Just like in 2010, the 2011 schedule does not have consecutive road games. The Aggies’ home games include non-conference opponents Weber State (Sept. 10), Colorado State on Homecoming (Sept. 24), and Wyoming (Oct. 8), along with WAC-foes Louisiana Tech (Oct. 22), San Jose State (Nov. 12) and Nevada (Nov. 26). USU will have road games at Auburn (Sept. 3), BYU (Sept. 30), Fresno State (Oct. 15), Hawai’i (Nov. 5), Idaho (Nov. 19) and New Mexico State (Dec. 3). “We are excited about the attractiveness and balance of our full schedule. It will be a fun fall for our fans,” said USU Athletics Director Scott Barnes. Utah State will host six games for the second-straight season. It marks the first time since 1995-96 that USU has had consecutive schedules with six home games. The 2011 schedule marks just the fourth time in the past 15 seasons that the Aggies will play six home games, also doing so in 2010, 2008 and 1998, although six were scheduled in 2005, but the season-opener vs. Nicholls State was cancelled due to Hurricane Katrina. Entering USU’s 117th season of football, the Aggies have had six home games on the slate a total of only eight times: 2011, 2010, 2008, 1998, 1996, 1995, 1978, 1952. USU will host Colorado State on Homecoming 2011 on Saturday, Sept. 24, marking the 13th time that CSU has been the Aggies’ Homecoming opponent, the most common-played opponent when celebrating the navy and white tradition in USU’s history and nearly twice than the second-most of seven vs. BYU. Utah State has not played Colorado State on Homecoming since 1966, but the Aggies are 7-4-1 against the Rams on Homecoming. A total of five teams on USU’s 2011 schedule went to a bowl game in 2010, opening at defending national champion Auburn (Tostitos BCS National Title Game, W 22-19 over Oregon). The Aggies will also face bowl teams BYU (New Mexico Bowl, W 52-42 over UTEP), Nevada (Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, W 20-13 vs. Boston College), Hawai’i (Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, L 62-35 to Tulsa) and Fresno State (udrove Humanitarian Bowl, L 40-17 to Northern Illinois). The 2011 ledger also includes two teams ranked in the final Associated Press poll, including No. 1 Auburn and No. 11 Nevada. Hawai’i and BYU were among others receiving votes in the poll. USU opens the 2011 season on Saturday, Sept. 3 at defending national champion Auburn. The Aggies will tangle with the Tigers for the first time ever and be USU’s first Southeastern Conference opponent since Arkansas in 2006. Utah State’s home opener is on Saturday, Sept. 10, taking on in-state foe Weber State, marking the first time that USU and WSU have squared off since 2001, and Utah State leads the all-time series, 11-1. The Aggie-Wildcat match-up will have special meaning for Andersen, who will be facing his mentor, Weber State head coach Ron McBride. Andersen played for McBride at Utah in 1985-86. After one of two byes on the schedule, USU will host Colorado State on Saturday, Sept. 24 in Utah State’s Homecoming game and the Aggies’ first of three-straight games against Mountain West Conference opponents. Utah State will be opening a home-and-home series with Colorado State, and the Aggies will be locking horns with the Rams for the first time since 1997. CSU leads the all-time series, 34-30-2, having won the last three meetings and five of the last seven. On Friday, Sept. 30, USU will play at BYU, with the Old Wagon Wheel at stake, after the Aggies’ claimed the traveling trophy with a 31-16 win in 2010, USU’s first win over BYU since 1993, and closing the series gap to 43-34-3 in BYU’s favor. Utah State will wrap up non-conference action by hosting Wyoming on Saturday, Oct. 8, as the Aggies will be tangling with the Cowboys for the first time since 2007, and the Cowboys’ first visit to Logan since 2003. Utah State holds a 34-24-4 all-time series lead, but Wyoming has won the last four meetings. USU opens WAC action on Saturday, Oct. 15 at Fresno State, as the Bulldogs lead the all-time series with the Aggies, 15-10-1, including 11-2-1 at Fresno, winning the last four in a row overall and the last four at Fresno after a 24-24 tie in 1990. Utah State returns home to host Louisiana Tech on Saturday, Oct. 22, and the Bulldogs lead the series, 5-3 overall, but it is tied, 2-2 at Logan. The Aggies’ second bye of the season is on Saturday, Oct. 29, prior to a five-game stretch to close out the regular season. USU then heads to Honolulu to face Hawai’i on Nov. 5, and the Warriors hold a 6-5 series advantage, including 4-2 on the islands. USU welcomes San Jose State to Logan on Saturday, Nov. 12, as the Aggies lead the series with the Spartans, 23-20-1, having won two in a row, as well as 8-8 at Logan. Utah State then heads to Moscow, Idaho to face Idaho in the newly renovated Kibbie Dome on Saturday, Nov. 19. USU leads the series, 18-17-2, and it is dead even at 9-9-1 at Moscow. The Aggies’ home finale is Thanksgiving weekend against Nevada on Saturday, Nov. 26, and the Wolf Pack have a 17-4 series advantage, including 9-2 at Logan. USU closes out regular-season action in an all-Aggie affair at New Mexico State on Saturday, Dec. 3. Utah State has a 28-7 series lead, winning three of the last four and five of the last seven, including 12-3 overall at Logan, winning three of the last four. Utah State football will conduct the first of its 15 spring practices on Wednesday, March 23 and conclude spring drills with the annual Spring Game on Saturday, April 23. USU head coach Gary Andersen is entering his third spring at the helm of the Aggie program, and Andersen and his staff will conduct spring camp on a Monday-Wednesday-Friday rotation, weather permitting. The lone exception is the Spring Game on Saturday, April 23, which is the final practice of the spring. All practices are scheduled for Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium, but will shift to the Stan Laub Indoor Facility if there is inclement weather. Practices are currently scheduled to be open to the public, but are subject to change. All practices are tentatively open to the public, but they must remain off the field. When the Aggies are on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium, fans must remain in the stands at all times. All open practices are subject to change. The Spring Game will kick off at 2 p.m. at Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium. Admission will again be free to the public and further details along with events surrounding the Spring Game will be released at a later date. For USU football ticket information, contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305, or online 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com and clicking on the “buy/renew tickets” under the “tickets” drop down menu. Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on the USU football blog at usufootball.wordpress.com. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics. -USU-

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