The Aggies giveth and the Aggies taketh away. It was an up and down day to be an Aggie. After a huge win against Wyoming that got the Aggies a spot in the inaugural Mountain West Football Championship game the Basketball team played BYU in Salt Lake at Energy Solutions Arena and came up short.
Let us begin with the good. I am still trying to figure out how to live in a world where the Aggie football team is this good. Usually by this point in November I have written off the football team and am in full basketball mode. That is no longer the case. The Aggie football team is going bowling for the third straight year. Am I trapped in some sort of Inception dream world? How am I even concerned about Utah State Football in November? At this point I really don’t care. I love it and I’m not going to look the proverbial gift horse in the mouth.
The win over Wyoming gives us a shot at Fresno State in the upcoming Football Championship game. This football team could have folded and just given up after Chuckie went down against BYU and then the loss against Boise State. They could have simply given up, but they didn’t. Coach Wells handed the reins of the team to Darell Garretson, a true freshman, took over after Craig Harrison struggled against both BYU and BSU. Garretson has progressed each game and has looked good. He didn’t face anyone nearly as tough as BYU or BSU down the stretch, but he looked better each game. He also had some great support from the running backs and special teams. It wasn’t all on his shoulders.
Not only did Garretson progress, but the defense has really stepped up. After getting their first shutout in a decade they followed it up by locking down Wyoming completely for the first three quarters of the game today. This is a Wyoming team that racked up nearly 800 yards of total offense last week against Hawaii. With all the talk about the Aggies playing Fresno State in the championship game I began to worry about the dreaded “trap game” against Wyoming. The lifelong Aggie fan in me was just waiting for my heart to get ripped out and stomped on. I have cheered for USU for too long not to be worried about this kind of result. So, for this game to go the way that it did really put me in a good mood.
The Football team took care of business. The Basketball team did not. The game against the Cougars started out great. The Aggies were shooting lights out and the first half ended with the Aggies up five. Things were looking good for the Aggies. That’s when the wheels fell off. For as hot as the Aggies were in the first half, they were just as cold in the second half. The shots weren’t falling. The turnovers were racking up, and my anxiety was growing. When the final horn sounded it was another loss this year to BYU.
For some reason though this one didn’t sting as much. I’m still hopeful for the season. The Aggies look like they can make some noise in the Mountain West and BYU looks really good. The Aggies depth is a lot more than it has been for as long as I can remember, and the loss to BYU is one that doesn’t kill any of the teams hopes for this season. Would I have rather seen a win tonight? Absolutely! I would have much rather been celebrating a win against BYU, but in the big scheme of things it would have been a nice win, but overall doesn’t really do anything to help win a conference title. The loss doesn’t hurt those chances. It would have just been nice to not have to listen to my friends who are Cougar fans give me a hard time about another loss to BYU.
As always it was a mixed bag for the Aggies. The teams are making progress, the wins are much more frequent than the losses, and it still takes strong character to be an Aggie fan. I have high hopes, but no expectations for the game against Fresno State. I just can’t believe that the Aggies are going to a bowl in either Las Vegas or San Diego in December. They have come a long way from the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.