Rested Aggies prepare for Hawaii at home
Published: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 21:10
It’s been two weeks since the Utah State football team took the field against New Mexico, but the Aggies are looking to come out fresh off their bye week when they host 0-7 Hawaii at 3 p.m. on Saturday at Romney Stadium.
"Don't look at the record. Don't believe it. All you've got to do is flip on the tape,” said USU head coach Matt Wells. “These guys play hard. I think it's a great testament to coach (Norm) Chow and their staff in the way their players play and the culture he's creating there. I'm very impressed with that. I've got a lot of respect for him in that area because these kids play hard, they play down to the wire."
Hawaii is ranked 21st nationally in offense, averaging 299.3 passing yards per game. Quarterback Sean Schroeder has thrown for 1,486 yards and 13 touchdowns after taking over for the injured Taylor Graham earlier this season.
The ground game has struggled this season and is ranked among the worst in the country, averaging 75.3 yards per game and five touchdowns.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Warriors have given up 35.3 points per game and 466.1 yards per game to their opponents. But despite how Hawaii looks on paper, Wells said the Aggies aren’t overlooking the Warriors.
“I expect them to come in here and be very well prepared,” Wells said. “I expect them to come in and play very hard. We have to match their intensity from our end. I don't have any doubt that we will and we'll be ready Saturday. It will be a good game in Romney Stadium and we're looking forward to it.”
The Aggie defense defense has continued its dominance from last season and currently ranks 19th in the country in total defense, having given up 345.1 yards per game, and is 22nd nationally allowing 20.0 points per game.
Offensively, USU is ranked in the top 40 in both points and yards per game.
The Aggies are averaging 35.5 points per game, good for 36th nationally, and 461.6 yards per game, which is 38th best in the country. Running back Joey DeMartino heads a USU rushing attack ranked 29th with an average of 208.3 yards per game.
When USU takes the field Saturday, quarterback Darell Garretson will get his second start as an Aggie. The freshman threw for 144 yards and a touchdown in a 45-10 win over New Mexico, a game in which the Aggies led 31-3 at halftime.
Wells said the Aggies will have to play a complete game against the Warriors, who have outscored their conference opponents in the fourth quarter.
"I looked at it a little bit yesterday and did some research and they've outscored their opponents, 52-17, in the fourth quarter of their last four Mountain West games,” Wells said. “That's unbelievable. A lot of the times when you flip on the tape in the last few weeks, the teams they've been playing have had their starters in. It goes back to show you how hard these guys play.”
The Aggies are 3-1 in MWC play, tied atop the Mountain Division with Boise State. The Broncos own the head-to-head tiebreaker, which means USU will need some outside help to make it to the MWC Championship on Dec. 7.