Fresh off its only bye week of the season, Utah State is ready to get back to work.
“The bye week, all it did was just give us a chance to collect ourselves and get our bodies back,” senior running back Kerwynn Williams said. “I don’t think the intensity dropped the whole week of practice (last week).
“I feel like everybody came to practice every day and was ready to get the game plan down for this week.”
And what a week this is for the Aggies.
USU travels to Ruston, La., to take on 19th-ranked Louisiana Tech on Saturday afternoon. Both teams are 4-0 in the Western Athletic Conference.
“This is what we’ve been working for and we’re not going to let down now,” Williams said.
The winner of Saturday’s game, which is slated to kick off at 2 p.m., will clinch at least a share of the WAC title.
“It’s a huge game for the Aggies, it’s a huge game for the Bulldogs,” USU head coach Gary Andersen said. “It’s fun to be in a game that has this much on the outcome this late in the year. Late November games are what football teams play for.
“It’s a great accomplishment on both sides to get to the point where both teams are. We’re excited about the opportunity to compete and I’m sure they are, too. It’s a fun time for all Aggies to be associated with a game like this.”
USU quarterback Chuckie Keeton is certainly ready to play the Bulldogs, who have won 10 straight WAC games.
“It’s crazy that this game is so big and we’ve always had it kind of marked on our schedule coming from the offseason, just because we knew it was one of the games we should have won last year,” Keeton said. “To have it be of this magnitude where a WAC championship is kind of on the line, it’s a great feeling.
“But at the same time, we have to work a little bit harder and we have to prepare a little bit harder. I think we should be able to play our type of football and come out with a win.”
Four in a row?
USU cornerback Will Davis has recorded an interception in each of the Aggies’ last three games.
Will he make it four straight this week against LTU? The senior from Spokane, Wash., sure hopes so.
“Yeah, a couple of people have tweeted me about it,” Davis said. “... I’m definitely trying to go for four weeks in a row. They throw the ball a lot, so I’m going to have a lot of opportunities.”
Davis will definitely get a lot of chances, but it probably won’t be easy for him — or any other USU defender for that matter — to record an interception.
That’s because Bulldogs quarterback Colby Cameron has thrown 419 straight passes without an interception, an NCAA record.
“He is very accurate and that’s one thing our coaches have (pointed out),” Davis said of Cameron.
Aggies still receiving votes
USU garnered 20 votes in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll to rank 31st nationally and four votes in the Associated Press Poll to rank tied for 36th in the nation with Tulsa and San Jose State.
It is the second week in a row the Aggies have received votes in the two national polls.
Last week, USU garnered 13 votes in the coaches’ poll to rank 35th nationally and four votes in the AP poll to rank 40th.
Overall, it is the fourth time this season the Aggies have received top 25 votes.
Patton a Biletnikoff Award semifinalist
LTU wide receiver Quinton Patton was named one of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, announced Monday by the Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation.
Through 10 games this season, Patton leads the Bulldogs with 1,086 yards receiving and 11 touchdowns on 83 catches, averaging 13.1 yards per catch and 108.6 yards per game.
“No, it is not real surprising,” Cameron said of Patton being a semifinalist. “He has been a tremendous player for us and it is just nice, being a quarterback, that you have such a great player like him out there on the field.”
Patton is currently sixth in the nation in receptions per game (8.30) and ninth in receiving yards per game.
Patton is joined on the semifinalist list by Tavon Austin (West Virginia), Stedman Bailey (West Virginia), Brandin Cooks (Oregon State), Austin Franklin (New Mexico State), Coby Hamilton (Arkansas), Austin Hill (Arizona), Deandre Hopkins (Clemson), Marqise Lee (Southern California) and Terrance Williams (Baylor).
WAC Players of the Week
Louisiana Tech running back Kenneth Dixon, San Jose State defensive back Bene Benwikere and New Mexico State punter Cayle Chapman-Brown were named the Western Athletic Conference offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week, respectively, it was announced Monday.
Dixon, a freshman from Strong, Ark., rushed for 144 yards and four touchdowns on 21 carries in the Bulldogs’ 62-55 win at Texas State. He also had two catches for 14 yards and another score.
Benwikere, a junior from Los Angeles, made six tackles, including two for loss, in the Spartans’ 47-7 win at New Mexico State. Benwikere also intercepted a pass and returned a fumble 37 yards for a touchdown, the second straight game he has scored a defensive touchdown.
Chapman-Brown, a junior from Sydney, Australia, punted seven times for 356 yards — a 50.9-yard average in the game against SJSU. He had two punts downed inside the 20-yard line and a long of 61 yards.