LOGAN – Aggie fans were able to breathe a sigh of relief Saturday night. After a rocky start to the season that included two losses, a narrow escape over Southern Utah at home. A struggling offense and losing Chuckie Keeton to injury, the Utah State football team was able to pick up a solid conference win over a team head coach Matt Wells said he believes is “going to win some games.”
Now it’s on to Fresno State, another conference foe. The Bulldogs are 1-4 so far this season, with their only win coming against Abilene Christian, but Wells made it clear that Utah State will get Fresno State’s “best shot schematically, emotionally and physically” when the two teams meet up Saturday night.
“It’s a good bunch,” he said. “There are seniors on both sides of the ball that been in that Mountain West championship game two years ago. This is a good team. Don’t let that record fool you. They’ve played two top 10 teams.”
It is also a team the Aggies haven’t beat since 2006, and it is on the road. Wells is very familiar with the challenges of playing in Bulldog Stadium.
“That place gets loud,” he said. “I know what the walk is like from the locker room down to the field. I’ve done it as an assistant coach, as a player, as a head coach. We’ve been in there, that’s a great home field atmosphere. If you’re going to compete in this league you’ve got to go find ways to win on the road.”
Wells might be right, the Bulldogs might be better than what their record shows, but the statistics also show a team that is struggling to move the ball. In their last game against San Diego State they were only able to manage 89 yards of total offense. Now they will face an Aggie defense that ranks in the top 40 in six categories, including yards allowed per game.
The Bulldog offense is led by quarterback Zack Greenlee, a player that Wells recognizes as being very good on the perimeter who is protected by a veteran line. Greenlee’s favorite targets appear to be Jamire Jordan and KeeSean Johnson, two wide receivers that Aggie cornerback Jalen Davis is excited to see on the field.
“It’s always going to get me excited when a team has great players who are very quick and fast,” he said. “I just love playing those kind of players and as a defense, we love trying to stop those guys.”
Wells said preparing to go against Fresno State’s defensive scheme is challenge, a lot has to do with the way the defense commonly pressures from a wide variety of different positions.
“You name it, they’re coming down that ramp blitzing and pressuring,” Wells said. “Man pressures and zone pressures.”
Quarterback Kent Myers said he will be ready for anything the Bulldogs throw at him.
“They like to blitz a lot,” he said. “So I’m just going to be ready for it and know who I’m supposed to throw to when those guys come, and know who’s blocked and know that I still have time.”
He also has confidence in the guys protecting him.
“The offensive line will be ready for anything that comes at them,” he said.
If the Aggies win, the conference record will improve to 2-0 and will have less than one week to prepare for defending conference champion Boise State. The Broncos come into Logan Friday, October 16.