Aggies draw on 2010 win for confidence vs. BYU

Oct 3 2013 - 11:57pm

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LOGAN -- Joey Martino said it stirred "one of the greatest feelings in his life."

Tyler Larsen said it was "absolutely crazy" to make history.

Cameron Sanders said "words can't describe" what it meant to get "weight off of our shoulders."

The last time BYU visited Logan to play Utah State, the Aggies claimed what many have called one of the program's greatest wins. Fueled by ball-carriers Diondre Borel, Derrvin Speight and Kerwynn Williams, USU raced to a 17-0 lead and held on for its first win over the rival Cougars since 1993.

In the stands that evening was a high school senior named Chuckie Keeton. Now a member of the Heisman Watch List, Keeton has said that the win, with its enthusiastic fans cheering a rising program, helped convince him to commit to USU.

BYU (2-2) returns to Romney Stadium Friday night against the Aggies (3-2). Kickoff is at 6 p.m. on CBSSN.

That Oct. 1, 2010, game was a difference-maker for Keeton; for DeMartino, Larsen and Sanders, it is one of their greatest memories. All three rated the 31-16 victory in the top trio of games of their career.

For Larsen, the sole remaining USU starter from that game, it ranks only behind the Aggies' 2012 late-season overtime win over Louisiana Tech. That clinched the Western Athletic Conference title.

"I can't even explain it," Larsen said. "It was probably one of funnest games we have played, just having that atmosphere around. Half the stadium was full of BYU people - and then people were rushing the field! Absolutely crazy, knowing what we did for the first time in 17 years against those guys. That was huge, knowing that we were making history."

As a native of Oklahoma City, Sanders didn't understand the rivalry until the week of the game, when fans in Logan pressed him to win. He was more expectant in other ways.

"Coach (Gary Andersen) had us prepped," Sanders said. "Words can't explain. It was very exciting."

USU's contests the past two seasons against BYU haven't been quite as favorable, if not as dramatic. USU has suffered back-to-back three-point defeats in Provo. In 2011, QB Riley Nelson connected with Marcus Mathews on a tipped pass with 11 seconds remaining, and last year, a missed field goal from Utah State's Josh Thompson proved the difference in a defensive bout.

Despite the defeats, Larsen said the Aggies' efforts against the Cougars the past two seasons were as strong as the breakthrough contest three years ago.

"The bottom line is who makes more plays at the end, but we played great from a team standpoint," Larsen said. "We want to direct their play. Their defense is about the same and their offense has changed, but the bottom line is that we have got to make one more play."

Indeed, the Cougar defense still boasts linebacker Kyle Van Noy, a preseason All-American who had seven tackles and a forced fumble in his first game as a true freshman against USU. BYU is 23rd in the nation in total defense (USU is 22nd) after finishing third last year.

* GAME NOTES: Defensive end Connor Williams is once again doubtful. The 2012 second-team all-WAC selection has missed the past four contests with a foot injury. ...

USU has won six-straight home games against in-state opponents and nine straight overall while going 9-1 in its last 10 non-conference home games.

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