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Utah State: A Rising Power

Utah State University is a small school in Logan, Utah that never gets enough recognition as (I think) it deserves. People often think about USU as the youngest brother of The University of Utah and Brigham Young University, the other state universities. However, this “little brother” did quite well this year in athletics.

Utah State Football started the year off in August at Michigan State, falling just short after staying in most of the game. The next week would bring the New Mexico State Aggies to Logan. After losing a close game to NM State in the Arizona Bowl the previous season, the Logan Aggies blow New Mexico State out 60-13 with kicker Dominik Eberle tying two NCAA records and shattering nearly every USU school record with his 6 field goals and 6 extra points. This game would be the start of a hot streak for Utah State, going undefeated for the next 9 games before losing their final regular season game at Boise State, narrowing missing the Mountain West Conference Championship Game, in which Boise would proceed to fall to Fresno State. The Aggies would conclude the 2018 season with the New Mexico Bowl. Utah State beat North Texas University 52-13 to finish a phenomenal 11-2 season that broke 34 school records. The All-Mountain West First and Second Teams were packed with Aggies, Matt Wells was named MW Coach of the Year and return specialist Savon Scarver was named consensus All-American. The Aggies found themselves at the 22nd spot on the final AP poll.

The Aggies not only succeeded in football, but also men’s basketball. USU started their season with an exhibition game against Evergreen State College, beating the small Washington School 96-45 to start a 6-game streak. During this streak the USU Aggies beat Montana State, University of Hartford, Mississippi Valley State, and Saint Mary’s. Their streak would come to an end with a 87-82 loss to Arizona State

in the championship game of the MGM Main Event┬átournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. Utah State would go on to finish the remaining games 20-5, losing to in-state rivals BYU (by a mere 5 points), #21 Houston, #6 Nevada, and conference rivals Fresno and San Diego State, both by 5 points or less. The Aggies finished their regular season 28-6 going on to grab a Mountain West Conference Championship win, beating San Diego State by 7 points. Utah State was well represented in the MW honors with head coach Craig Smith winning Coach of the Year, guard Sam Merrill winning Player of the Year, and center Neemias Queta winning both Defensive Player and Freshman of the Year. The USU men’s basketball team will be traveling to Ohio to play in the NCAA Tournament, where they will play Washington in round one.

Utah State was one of only schools in the nation to win 11 games in football and 20 in men’s basketball in the, joined only by Cincinnati. USU was also one of four schools in the country that were in the Final AP Polls in both football and basketball, this time joined by LSU, Michigan, and Kentucky. The little school from Logan, Utah has forced its way into national view this year with Top-25 AP Polls, an All-American, and now representation in the NCAA Basketball Tournament. The Aggies hope to compete well in the tournament and continue this great level of competition in both sports next year.

 

 

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