UTAH STATE (0-0) vs. No. 11 MICHIGAN STATE (0-0)
Friday, Aug. 31, 2018 • 5:05 p.m. (MT) • East Lansing, Mich. • Spartan Stadium (75,005)
GAME 1 INFORMATION TV: Big Ten Network
• Play-by-Play Brandon Gaudin
• Analyst Glen Mason
• Reporter Elise Menaker
• DISH Ch. 405
• DirecTV Ch. 610
RADIO: AGGIE SPORTS NETWORK
• Play-by-Play Scott Garrard
• Analyst Kevin White
• Online: 1280thezone.com / Tunein.com
• National: Sirius 119 / XM 195 / Internet 957
SOCIAL MEDIA: #AGGIESALLTHEWAY
• Twitter/Instagram @USUFootball
• Facebook USUFootball
• YouTube UtahStateFootball
• Live Stats UtahState.Statbroadcast.com
AGGIE RADIO NETWORKS
• Every Utah State football game can be heard live on the Aggie Radio Network. Scott Garrard serves as the play-by-play announcer, while former USU quarterback Kevin White (1988-89) will provide color analysis. Games can also be heard on the Internet (www.UtahStateAggies.com) by clicking on the 'Listen Live' link, as well as on the TuneIn App.
• Salt Lake City KZNS (1280 AM/97.5 FM)
• Logan KBLU-LP (92.3 FM)
• Cache Valley KACH (1340 AM/105.5 FM)
• Price KRPX (95.3 FM)
• Green River KRPX (102.7 FM)
• Moab KRPX (100.3 FM)
• Orangeville KRPX (95.9 FM)
• Utah State will open the 2018 season with a road game for the seventh time in the last 10 seasons and 61st time in program history as it plays at No. 11 Michigan State on Friday, Aug. 31, at 5 p.m. (MT), in a game that will be nationally televised on the Big Ten Network. It will be the first-ever meeting between the Aggies and Spartans.
• Utah State is beginning its season in Big Ten country for the second straight year as it opened the 2017 campaign at No. 9 Wisconsin, where it held an early 10-0 lead and was tied with the Badgers 10-10 at the half.
• Utah State returns 18 starters (O-9, D-9) and 47 letterwinners (O-19, D-26, S-2) from last season, and those 18 returning starters rank as the third-most in the nation behind Florida (19) and Michigan State (19). When you add in its two returning specialists, USU's 20 returning starters are tied for the third-most in the nation behind Baylor (22) and Michigan State (22), and tied with Florida (20), Michigan (20) and UAB (20).
• In all, Utah State returns 35 players with starting experience, including 26 who made their first career start with USU last season. Of those 26 returning players who made starts last season, six started all 13 games in senior OT Roman Andrus, senior OG Rob Castandeda, senior OC Quin Ficklin, senior LB Suli Tamaivena, senior WR Ron'quavion Tarver and junior OG Moroni Iniguez.
• Utah State has four players, all listed as starters, who transferred to USU from Power 5 programs in senior OG Rob Castaneda (Texas Tech), senior WR Jalen Greene (USC), junior LB Tipa Galeai (TCU) and junior DE Fua Leilua (Oklahoma State).
• Utah State's defense finished last season ranking sixth in the nation with its 29 forced turnovers and tied for second in the nation with its 16 fumble recoveries. Overall, USU has forced 139 turnovers in its last 75 games, including at least one turnover in 58 of those 75 games.
UTAH STATE BEGINNING 121ST SEASON OF AGGIE FOOTBALL
• Utah State begins its 121st season of football this week with a road game at No. 11 Michigan State on Friday, Aug. 31, at 5 p.m. (MT) in a game that will be televised nationally on the Big Ten Network (DISH Ch. 405; DirecTV Ch. 610) with Brandon Gaudin (play-by-play), Glen Mason (analyst) and Elise Menaker (reporter) on the call. Live audio of the game is available on www.UtahStateAggies.com. USU is 540-540-31 (.501) in its previous 120 seasons.
• Utah State has won 18 of its last 41 (.439) road games and is 11-24 (.314) in road games under sixth-year head coach Matt Wells. USU has also won 14 of its last 23 games played during the month of September and is 1-3 all-time in games played on Aug. 31. USU is also 21-29-1 (.422) all-time in games played on Friday, including an 8-6 (.571) record under Wells.
• Utah State has won two of its last three season openers and has a 2-3 record in such games under Wells.
• Utah State's coaching staff will be one of 336 staffs from all four NCAA divisions to wear American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) patches on their shirts during this weekend's game to bring awareness of and promote the association.
VERSUS ASSOCIATED PRESS RANKED TEAMS
• Utah State is 5-55 all-time against Associated Press ranked teams, but has won four of its last nine meetings against top-25 competition, including its 52-26 home win against No. 21 Boise State in 2015. In 2014, USU notched a 35-20 road win at No. 18 BYU as the Cougars are the highest ranked AP team the Aggies have ever defeated. In 2013, USU posted a 21-14 win against No. 24 Northern Illinois in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. In 2012, USU posted a 48-41 overtime win at No. 19 Louisiana Tech and in 1991 it defeated No. 25 Fresno State at home, 20-19.
• Under head coach Matt Wells, Utah State is 3-5 versus Associated Press ranked teams. In the previous 115 seasons of Aggie Football, USU had just two wins against AP top-25 teams.
UTAH STATE HAS FIVE BOWL TEAMS ON ITS 2018 SCHEDULE
• Utah State's 2018 schedule features five teams that played in bowl games a year ago as Michigan State played in the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl (W, 42-17 vs. Washington State); New Mexico State played in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl (W, 26-20 OT vs. Utah State); Wyoming played in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (W, 37-14 vs. Central Michigan); Colorado State played in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl (L, 31-28 vs. Marshall); and Boise State played in the Las Vegas Bowl (W, 38-28 vs. Oregon).
PRESEASON PREDICTIONS FOR UTAH STATE
• According to College Football Home, Utah State is predicted to be the second-most improved team in the nation in 2018, behind only Florida. Furthermore, USU's special teams are predicted to be the fourth-best units in the nation this fall, behind only Utah, Stanford and TCU.
• According to West Coast College Football, Utah State has the fourth-best chance at winning the Mountain West championship in 2018, behind Boise State, San Diego State and Fresno State.
THOMPSON ONE OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL'S MOST FREAKISH ATHLETES
• According to NFL.com, Utah State junior RB Darwin Thompson is listed as the 17th-most 'Freak-ish Athlete' in college football heading into the 2018 season. Some of the reasoning behind this ranking comes from his performances in the weight room as he has squatted 560 pounds, including seven reps at 515 pounds. Furthermore, Thompson has logged a vertical jump of 40 inches.
RAYMOND RANKS AS SIXTH-BEST TIGHT END IN THE NATION
• According to College Football Focus, Utah State junior Dax Raymond is ranked as the sixth-best tight end in the nation heading into the 2018 season, behind Noah Fant (Iowa), Caleb Wilson (UCLA), Albert Okwuegbunam (Missouri), Hunter Bryant (Washington) and Kaden Smith (Stanford).
LOVE PROJECTED AS ONE OF THE TOP BREAKOUT QUARTERBACKS IN 2018
• According to Athlon Sports, Utah State sophomore Jordan Love is ranked 25th in the nation among quarterbacks that will have a breakout season in 2018. Other Mountain West quarterbacks to make this list include UNLV's Armani Rogers (20) and Nevada's Ty Gangi (15).
AGGIES IN OVERTIME
• Utah State is 6-6 all-time in overtime, winning three of its last five. All-time, USU is 4-3 in single-overtime games, 2-2 in double-overtime games, and 0-1 in triple-overtime games. USU's last overtime game was a 26-20 loss against New Mexico State in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Dec. 29, 2017.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Utah State has won 22 of its last 27 games when it has a 100-yard rusher and 26 of its last 29 contests when rushing at least 40 times in a game. USU has also won 40 of its last 42 games when scoring at least 30 points.
SCOUTING MICHIGAN STATE
• Michigan State, which is ranked 11th in the Associated Press preseason poll and 12th in the preseason Coaches' poll, returns 48 letterwinners (O-21, D-24, S-3) and 19 starters (O-10, D-9) off last year's team that finished 10-3 overall and 7-2 in the Big Ten. MSU then defeated No. 21 Washington State (42-17) in the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl. Michigan State, which finished the 2017 season ranked 15th nationally in the AP poll and 16th in the coaches polls, returns 15 all-conference players from last season in senior OG David Beedle, senior WR Felton Davis III, senior RB LJ Scott, senior S Khari Willis, junior LB Joe Bachie, junior S David Dowell, junior CB Justin Layne, junior QB Brian Lewerke, junior DT Mike Panasiuk, junior DT Raequan Williams, junior DE Kenny Willekes, sophomore OT Luke Campbell, sophomore PK Matt Coghlin, sophomore OG Kevin Jarvis and sophomore CB Josiah Scott. Lewerke led MSU in passing last year as he was 246-of-417 for 2,793 yards with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions, while Davis III led the Spartans in receiving with 55 catches for 776 yards (14.1 ypr) and nine touchdowns. Scott led the team in rushing as he carried the ball 201 times for 898 yards (4.5 ypc) and eight touchdowns, and Bachie led MSU in tackles last season with 100 stops, which included 3.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. Michigan State is coached by Mark Dantonio, who is 100-45 in 11 seasons as the Spartans' head coach and 118-62 in 14 seasons as a collegiate head coach.
AGGIES AND SPARTANS SERIES HISTORY
• Utah State and Michigan State will be meeting for the first time ever this weekend.
AGGIES PLAYING SECOND-EVER GAME IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN
• Utah State will be playing its second-ever football game in the state of Michigan this weekend after posting a 65-22 road win at Western Michigan (Kalamazoo) in 1961.
AGGIES PLAYING ON NATURAL GRASS IS RARE
• Utah State will open the 2018 season playing on natural grass at Spartan Stadium, marking one of just two games during the season that USU plays on natural grass with the other game being at BYU (10/5). The last time USU played a game on natural grass was in 2016, when it concluded its season at BYU.
UTAH STATE CONNECTIONS WITH MICHIGAN STATE
• Former Utah State head football coach John L. Smith (1995-97) spent four seasons as Michigan State's head coach (2003-06). In his three years in Logan, Smith posted a 16-18 record, led the Aggies to back-to-back Big West Conference titles (1996-97), and an appearance in the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl. In his four years in East Lansing, the Spartans posted a 22-26 record, including an 8-5 mark in his first season as he was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year.
• Along with Smith, two other former USU assistants also coached at Michigan State from 2003-06 in defensive coordinator Chris Smeland and linebackers coach Mike Cox.
• Current Utah State running backs coach DeAndre Smith spent three seasons at Syracuse (2013-15) coaching with current Michigan State defensive ends coach Chuck Bullough.
AGGIES FROM THE GREAT LAKES STATE
• Utah State does not have any players on its current roster who reside from Michigan. The last USU player who called Michigan home was LB Louy Compton(Waterford/Waterford Mott HS), who played for USU last season. According to available records, Utah State has had just six football players from the state of Michigan all-time in DB Don Laws (Battle Creek), who played at USU from 1966-67; QB Rod Jones (Flint), who played at USU from 1967-69; DT Gary Hulsey (Flint/Southwestern HS), who played at USU in 1985; DB Tim Kindell (Flint/Southwestern HS), who played at USU in 1986; TE Patrick McNutt (Saline/Saline HS), who played at USU from 2001-04; and Compton.
UTAH STATE AGAINST THE BIG TEN CONFERENCE
• Utah State is 1-14-0 (.067) all-time against current members of the Big Ten Conference with its only win coming at Wisconsin in 1968. Overall, USU is 0-8 all-time against Nebraska, 1-2 all-time against Wisconsin, 0-2 against Iowa, and 0-1 against both Illinois and Penn State. The last time Utah State played a Big Ten opponent was last season, when it lost at Wisconsin, 59-10. USU has never played Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Northwestern, Ohio State, Purdue or Rutgers.
• Utah State head coach Matt Wells is 0-1 all-time as a collegiate head coach against the Big Ten Conference following USU's 59-10 loss at No. 9 Wisconsin last season.
AGGIES IN AUGUST
• Utah State is 3-7 all-time in games played in August, including a 1-5 road record. This will be USU's fifth game played on Aug. 31.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Utah State has 38 players in its program from the Beehive State, while Michigan State has 41 players on its roster from the Great Lakes State.
WHAT'S RETURNING IN 2018
• Utah State returns 18 starters (O-9, D-9) and 47 letterwinners (O-19, D-26, S-2) from last year's team that tied for fourth place in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West with a 4-4 record and finished the season at 6-7 after playing in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Highlighting Utah State's returners in 2018 are four players who earned various all-Mountain West honors a season ago as junior PK Dominik Eberle earned third-team All-America honors from Phil Steele's Magazine and honorable mention All-America honors from SB Nation, along with being a first-team all-MW selection and a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, while senior OT Roman Andrus, senior OC Quin Ficklin and junior TE Dax Raymond all garnered honorable mention all-MW honors. Utah State returns six other starters on offense in senior OG Rob Castaneda, senior OT Sean Taylor, senior WR Ron'quavion Tarver, junior OG Moroni Iniguez, sophomore QB Jordan Love and sophomore WR Jordan Nathan. USU also returns nine starters on defense in senior DE Adewale Adeoye, senior LB Chase Christiansen, senior S Gaje Ferguson, senior LB Suli Tamaivena, junior DE Devon Anderson, junior CB Cameron Haney, junior LB Justus Te'i, junior NG Christopher 'Unga and sophomore CB Ja'Marcus Ingram, to go along with one other specialists returning in senior P Aaron Dalton.
COACHING CHANGES IN 2018
• Utah State's coaching staff has two additions this season as Keith Patterson was hired as the defensive coordinator and safeties coach, replacing Kendrick Shaver, while Uani 'Unga was hired as the new 10th assistant and will coach outside linebackers after serving as a defensive administrative assistant for USU in 2017.
• Utah State enters the 2018 season with the same offensive coordinator, David Yost, for the first time since the 2014 season when Kevin McGiven served in that role.
NO SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR FOR UTAH STATE IN 2018
• Utah State will have all of its coaches working with the special teams during the 2018 season and does not have a special teams coordinator. In fact, USU is one of just three FBS programs that doesn't have a special teams coordinator in 2018, joining Ole Miss and Texas A&M.
WHAT UTAH STATE MUST REPLACE FROM 2017
• Utah State must replace two players who earned all-Mountain West honors in 2017, including CB Jalen Davis, who earned first-team honors, and S Dallin Leavitt, who was named to the honorable mention team. Other starters lost include RB LaJuan Hunt and WR Braelon Roberts. Along with being named first-team all-MW, Davis was also named a first-team All-American by the Walter Camp Football Foundation and earned second-team All-America honors from both The Associated Press and the Football Writers Association of America.
UTAH STATE OFFENSIVE NOTABLES HEADING INTO 2018
• Utah State returns four offensive players from the 2017 season that earned various all-Mountain West honors. Senior OC Quin Ficklin, senior WR Ron'quavion Tarver and junior TE Dax Raymond all earned third-team all-Mountain West accolades from Phil Steele's Magazine, while senior OL Roman Andrus joined Ficklin and Raymond on the Mountain West's honorable mention team.
• Utah State returns nine starters and 20 lettermen on offense from last year's team, its most since the 2016 team also returned nine starters.
• Utah State is one of just 18 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs to return all five of its starters on the offensive line from the 2017 season in seniors Roman Andrus, Rob Castaneda, Quin Ficklin and Sean Taylor, and junior Moroni Iniguez. That group combined to start in 63 of a possible 65 games last season. The last time USU returned all five of its starting offensive linemen from the previous season was 2013, as that team finished with a 10-4 record, including a 6-2 mark in Mountain West play, culminating with a win in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
• Senior WR Ron'quavion Tarver finished last season leading the team in every receiving category as he caught 48 passes for 569 yards (11.9 ypr) and seven touchdowns, while junior TE Dax Raymond finished second on the team and second in the Mountain West among tight ends with 41 receptions for 456 yards (11.1 ypr) and one touchdown.
UTAH STATE DEFENSIVE NOTABLES HEADING INTO 2018
• Utah State returns one defender that has garnered all-Mountain West honors in senior LB Suli Tamaivena, who earned third-team accolades from Phil Steele's Magazine in 2017.
• Utah State returns nine starters and 26 lettermen on defense from last year's team, its most since the 2010 team also returned nine defensive starters.
• Utah State returns eight of its top nine tacklers from last season, including Tamaivena, who led the team with 11 stops.
UTAH STATE SPECIAL TEAMS NOTABLES HEADING INTO 2018
• Junior PK Dominik Eberle was named a third-team All-American by Phil Steele's Magazine and an honorable mention All-American by SB Nation in 2017. Eberle is the first-ever USU placekicker named an All-American and just the second-ever specialist. Eberle was also a finalist for the Lou Groza Award in 2017.
• Heading into his junior season, Eberle is a preseason second-team All-American by Athlon Sports.
POSITION AND NUMBER CHANGES HEADING INTO 2018
• Utah State has three players that made position changes last spring as senior DJ Nelson moved from quarterback to wide receiver, junior Dalton Bakermoved from linebacker to defensive end, and junior Gerold Bright moved from wide receiver to running back.
• Utah State has four players who switched jersey numbers this fall as senior S Aaron Wade switched from No. 28 to No. 4, senior WR DJ Nelson switched from No. 18 to No. 12, junior RB Gerold Bright switched from No. 25 to No. 8, and sophomore S Ja'Marcus Ingram switched from No. 36 to No. 2.
DID YOU KNOW?
• Utah State had 26 first-time starters last season, which ranked fourth in the nation behind Ball State (33), Illinois (31) and Baylor (27), and 25 of those players return this season. Returning Aggies who made their first-career start last season include senior DE Adewale Adeoye, senior RB Eltoro Allen, senior OL Roman Andrus, senior OL Rob Castaneda, senior OL Quin Ficklin, senior OL Sean Taylor, senior LB Suli Tamaivena, senior NG Gasetoto Schuster, senior WR Aaren Vaughns, senior S Aaron Wade, junior DE Devon Anderson, junior LB Dalton Baker, junior OL Moroni Iniguez, junior TE Dax Raymond, junior NG Christopher 'Unga, junior DE Jacoby Wildman, sophomore OL Demytrick Ali'ifua, sophomore DE Ritisoni Fata, sophomore S Baron Gajkowski, sophomore s Ja'Marcus Ingram, sophomore DE Logan Lee, sophomore QB Jordan Love, sophomore LB Maika Magalei, sophomore WR Jordan Nathan and sophomore LB David Woodward.
• Utah State also had 38 players play in their first-ever Aggie game during the 2017 season. In addition to the 25 returning players listed above who made their first career starts for USU last season, USU returns 13 more players who played in their first career Aggie game last season in senior CB Deante Fortenberry, senior LB Ofa Latu, senior TE Emerson Woods, junior LB Braden Harris, junior P Zach Lee, junior S Chance Parker, sophomore PK Connor Coles, sophomore WR Taylor Compton, sophomore CB Braxton Gunther, sophomore LB Kevin Meitzenheimer, sophomore DE Jake Pitcher, sophomore WR Savon Scarver and sophomore TE Carson Terrell.
EBERLE NAMED ALL-AMERICAN AND FINALIST FOR LOU GROZA AWARD
• Utah State junior Dominik Eberle was named a third-team All-American by Phil Steele's Magazine and an honorable mention All-American by SB Nation in 2017. Eberle is the first-ever USU placekicker named an All-American and just the second-ever specialist, joining Steve Mullins, who was named an honorable mention All-American punter by Football News in 2001.
• Eberle was also named a finalist for the 2017 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-Kicker Award, presented by the Orange Bowl. Eberle was one of three finalists to land on the list, joining Daniel Carlson of Auburn and Matt Gay of Utah, who won the award. Eberle and Gay are just the second and third players from the Beehive State (Utah's Louie Sakoda in 2008) to be named a Lou Groza finalist, and Eberle is the fifth player from a current Mountain West institution.
• Other than Merlin Olsen winning the Outland Trophy in 1961, this is the first time Utah State has ever had a player named a finalist for a national award.
EBERLE FOURTH ALL-TIME IN FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE
• Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle is 21-of-29 on field goal attempts in his career, and his 72.4 conversion percentage ranks fourth all-time in school history. Russ Moody (1988-89) holds the school record for field goal percentage at 84.6, as he was 22-of-26 all-time on field goal attempts.
• Eberle is a perfect 47-of-47 on extra points in his career and is one of just three kickers in school history with a minimum of 30 PAT's made to have never missed an extra point, joining Willie Beecher (1981-84), who was 64-of-64 all-time on extra points, and Russ Moody (1988-89), who was 44-of-44 all-time on extra points. Those 47 extra points made in 2017 rank third all-time at USU for a single-season, while his 47 extra point attempts rank fourth.
• Eberle is one of just seven kickers in school history to not miss an extra point for an entire season, joining Nick Diaz (2012), Peter Caldwell (2010, 2007), Doug Beach (1990), Willie Beecher (1982), Tom Mayes (1975) and Steve Steinke (1978).
EBERLE SECOND IN SINGLE-SEASON POINTS BY A KICKER
• Sophomore PK Dominik Eberle scored 101 points in 2017 with 47 extra points and 18 field goals, to rank as the second-most points scored by a kicker in a single season in school history. Nick Diaz set the school record for points scored by a kicker with 102 during the 2013 season with 17 field goals and 51 extra points.
• Eberle was 18-of-24 on field goal attempts in 2017 and his 75.0 conversion percentage is tied for ninth all-time in school history for a single season. Russ Moody set the school record in 1988 as he made 86.7 percent of his field goals as he was 13-of-15. Eberle's 18 made field goals in 2017 are tied for the third-most in a single-season in school history, while his 24 attempts are tied for the fourth-most.
• Eberle made eight straight field goals at one point in 2017, which was the longest streak for an Aggie since Nick Diaz also made eight straight in 2014.
• Eberle was 5-of-9 on field goal attempts of at least 40 yards in 2017, including a career long of 52 yards, which is tied for the 10th-longest in school history. The last Aggie kicker to make at least five field goals of 40-plus yards in a single season was Diaz in 2012, when he was 5-of-7. And, Brad Bohn was the last USU kicker to make more than five from that distance, when he was 6-of-10 from 40-plus yards back in 2000.
• Utah State earned the 2017 American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Academic Achievement Award, which is presented by the Touchdown Club of Memphis, as it recorded a 100 percent graduation rate for members of their freshman football student-athlete class of 2010.
• Utah State's football team has a Graduation Success Rate (GSR) of 89 percent to rank first in the Mountain West. The Aggies also rank first among the other football programs in the Beehive State, ahead of Utah (83), Southern Utah (67), Weber State (66) and BYU (52).
• Over the past eight seasons, USU has had 166 players earn academic all-league honors and 156 players have graduated from Utah State.
• Utah State had two football players earn College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) first-team Academic All-District VIII honors in 2017 in junior DE Jacoby Wildman and sophomore S Baron Gajkowski.
• Utah State has one player on its current roster that has already graduated from USU with a bachelor's degree in senior OL KJ Uluave (social work), while graduate transfer Jalen Greene earned his bachelor's degree from USC (communications).
UTAH STATE BOWL HISTORY
• Utah State has a 4-8 bowl record all-time as it lost to San José State, 20-0, in the 1946 Raisin Bowl (Fresno, Calif.); lost to Pacific, 35-21, in the 1947 Grape Bowl (Lodi, Calif.); lost to New Mexico State, 20-13, in the 1960 Sun Bowl (El Paso, Texas); lost to Baylor, 24-9, in the 1961 Gotham Bowl (New York City); defeated Ball State, 42-33, in the 1993 Las Vegas Bowl II; lost to Cincinnati, 35-19, in the 1997 Humanitarian Bowl; lost to Ohio, 24-23, in the 2011 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl; defeated Toledo, 41-15, in the 2012 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl; defeated No. 24 Northern Illinois, 21-14, in the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl; defeated UTEP, 21-6, in the 2014 Gildan New Mexico Bowl; lost to Akron, 23-21, in the 2015 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl; and lost to New Mexico State, 26-20 in overtime, in the 2017 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl.
CURRENT AGGIES WITH NFL TIES
• Utah State has one player on its current roster whose father played in the NFL in junior LB Mason Tobeck (Robbie Tobeck). His dad, Robbie Tobeck (OL), spent 14 seasons in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons (1993-99) and Seattle Seahawks (2000-06).
AGGIES WHO HAVE SERVED LDS CHURCH MISSIONS
• Utah State has 25 players on its 2018 roster who have served two-year LDS Church Missions in senior OL Roman Andrus, senior OL Quin Ficklin, senior LB Ofa Latu, senior WR DJ Nelson, senior OL KJ Uluave, junior TE Dax Raymond, junior LB Braden Harris, junior OL Moroni Iniguez, junior S Chance Parker, junior NG Mohelika Uasike, junior DE Jacoby Wildman, sophomore DE Caden Andersen, sophomore WR Taylor Compton, sophomore DE Ritisoni Fata, sophomore S Baron Gajkowski, sophomore DE Logan Lee, sophomore OL Connor Meyers, sophomore S Chase Nelson, sophomore DE Keith Tambe, redshirt freshman WR Preston Curtis, redshirt freshman RB Sione Fehoko, redshirt sophomore S Jordan Hayes, redshirt freshman LB Daniel Langi, freshman OL Wade Meacham and freshman TE Bryce Mortenson.
AGGIES WHO ARE MARRIED
• Utah State has 12 players on its 2018 roster who are married in senior LB Chase Christiansen, senior S Gaje Ferguson, senior LB Suli Tamaivena, senior OL KJ Uluave, redshirt junior DE Fua Leilua, junior DE Dalton Baker, junior OL Moroni Iniguez, junior S Chance Parker, junior DE Jacoby Wildman, sophomore DE Keith Tambe, redshirt freshman LB Daniel Langi and freshman OL Wade Meacham.
COACH WELLS NOTABLES
• Utah State head coach Matt Wells' 34 wins rank as the fourth-most in school history, while his 51.5 winning percentage (34-32) ranks seventh with a minimum of 15 games coached. Wells is also 23-17 (.575) in Mountain West play in five seasons.
• Wells, who is entering his sixth season in charge of the Aggie football program, is the longest tenured head coach since Chuck Shelton (1986-91) also spent six seasons at USU. In fact, Wells is tied with Shelton and Chuck Mills (1967-72) as the fourth-longest tenured head coaches in 120 seasons of Utah State football.
• Wells has been a player (1993) or coach (2012, 2013, 2014) in all four of Utah State's bowl wins. The NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl in 2017 was his seventh bowl game as an Aggie.
• Wells coached his fourth bowl game in 2017 to extend the school record for most bowl games by a head coach. E. Lowell 'Dick' Romney (1946, 1947), John Ralston (1960, 1961) and Gary Andersen (2011, 2012) all coached the Aggies in two bowl games, while Charlie Weatherbie (1993) and John L. Smith (1997) each coached one bowl game at USU.
• In his five years as head coach, Wells has led Utah State to three wins against top 25 opponents, one more than USU had in its previous 115 years.
• During the 2016 and 2017 seasons, Wells mentored a combined 12 players who earned all-Mountain West honors. Wells also coached Jalen Davis, who was named a Walter Camp First Team All-American, while Dominik Eberle was a finalist for the Lou Groza Award, and earned third-team All-America honors.
• During the 2015 season, Wells mentored 12 players who earned all-Mountain West honors, which were the third-most in the conference. Wells also coached Kyler Fackrell, who was named a fourth-team All-American by Phil Steele.
• Wells coached three players who participated in the 2016 NFL Combine in Fackrell, Hunter Sharp and Nick Vigil, while 10 players from the 2015 roster were invited to NFL camps, including Vigil (Cincinnati Bengals) and Fackrell (Green Bay Packers), who were both selected in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
• Wells led Utah State to 10 wins in 2014 to rank as the second-most in school history behind the 2012 team that finished with an 11-2 record, including its third-straight bowl win with a 21-6 victory against UTEP in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
• During the 2014 season, Wells mentored 15 players who earned 16 all-Mountain West honors, which were the most in the league and tied for the third-most in school history. Wells also coached two All-Americans as Zach Vigil was named a second-team All-American by USA Today Sports, while Jalen Daviswas named a True Freshman All-American by 247Sports. Vigil was also named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year.
• Wells was named the 2013 Mountain West Coach of the Year as he set the school record for wins by a first-year head coach as the Aggies went 9-5.
• Wells led Utah State to the inaugural Mountain West Championship game after winning the Mountain Division with a 7-1 record in 2013. He also led USU to just its third-ever bowl victory as it posted a 21-14 win against No. 24 Northern Illinois in the 2013 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.
• During his first year as USU's head coach, Wells mentored 14 Aggies who earned various all-Mountain West honors, including three All-Americans as Tyler Larsen was named a second-team All-American by USA Today Sports, Nevin Lawson was named a third-team All-American by College Sports Madness, and Kyler Fackrell was named an honorable mention Sophomore All-American by College Football News.
• Wells coached a school-record four players who participated in the 2014 NFL Combine in Larsen, Lawson, Maurice Alexander and D.J. Tialavea, while 11 players from the 2013 roster were invited to NFL camps, including Alexander (Los Angeles Rams) and Lawson (Detroit Lions), who were both selected in the fourth round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
• Overall, Wells is the second USU coach and fifth in school history to garner conference coach of the year honors along with Bruce Snyder (1978), Chuck Shelton (1991), John L. Smith (1997) and Gary Andersen (2012). Wells is also the fourth individual to earn MW Coach of the Year honors in his first season, along with BYU's Gary Crowton (2001), Utah's Urban Meyer (2003) and Air Force's Troy Calhoun (2007).
• Wells is one of just 22 FBS coaches to lead his alma mater and is just the second Utah State graduate to be appointed its head football coach, joining Chris Pella, who graduated from USU in 1965 and coached the Aggies from 1983-85.
• Prior to being named the head coach at his alma mater, Wells spent the previous two seasons as an assistant at Utah State, including serving as the team's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2012. That year, USU concluded its most successful season in program history with a school-best 11-2 record. USU also won its first outright conference championship since 1936.
UTAH STATE (0-0) vs. No. 11 MICHIGAN STATE (0-0)