LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – There are strong ties between BYU and Utah State. In fact, Aggies center Quin Ficklin played for the Cougars just last year before transferring.
“I’ve played against these guys hundreds of times before,” Ficklin said. “I played against them in practice a lot, so I know all the defensive line, the safeties, the linebackers. I know them all really well. I’ve known Matt Hadley, who plays inside linebacker, I’ve known him my whole life. Our families go way back. I mean, his older brother took my sister to senior prom. So, I’m just excited for this game.”
“Our coaches have a lot of great relationships with a lot of those guys,” said BYU head coach Kalani Sitake. “So, I think it’s good and it’s an in-state rival game. It’s a lot of fun and a lot of attention will be focused on this game.”
Although BYU has won 25 of the last 28 meetings with Utah State, the Aggies are coming off one of the best games in years. Utah State just demolished San Jose State, 61-10, but head coach Matt Wells doesn’t want his team feeling too good about themselves.
“There’s all this hype for the game,” Wells said. “Everybody is going to get patted on the back in the media, get patted on the back on campus, so we’ve got to block that noise out. We’ve got to continue to prepare at a high level.”
While BYU is dead last in the country in scoring offense at 9.8 points per game, Wells is worried BYU quarterback Beau Hoge could find his groove Friday night.
“Beau Hoge is a good quarterback,” Wells said. “He’s athletic, more athletic than people want to realize or give him credit for.”
BYU knows Utah State is going to be coming for them, especially since the game will be in Logan, and the Cougars are down right now.
“Their offense is fast paced,” said BYU linebacker Fred Warner. “They like to spread things out, and they’ve got good receivers on the outside. They’ve got tight ends that they use in different formations, a good offensive line. So, the quarterback, we’ve just got to make sure we contain him.”
While BYU’s offense has been under scrutiny for its lack of production, Sitake said not everything is negative right now in Provo.
“The attention that the offense is drawing is taking away a lot of the good things that I think we’re doing in the other two phases,” Sitake said. “There’s still a lot of positives on the offense that we’re seeing. We just need to find ways to make plays, get first downs and put points on the board.”
“I don’t know what it is,” said BYU wide receiver Micah Simon. “Sometimes it’s hard to figure out why the looks we get in practice don’t translate to the field. We know each week, teams change. Their schemes change and they’re watching film just like we’re watching film.”
BYU (1-3) and Utah State (2-2) will play for the 87th time at 6:00 p.m. Friday night at Maverick Stadium.