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I thinks it's very appropriate that Utah State is kicking off it's conference schedule with Fresno State this season. This is the year many people, including me, think the Aggies get over the hump and become a contender in the WAC; and what better why to find out if that's true, then to defeat the team we've been so close but just can't get past, the Bulldogs.
Not to sound too cliche`-ish, but this game is really going to be the barometer of this years team. Fresno is good, how good, we're not quite sure since they've only played 1 game, but that one game was a sound victory of the defending Big East Champs, Cincinnati. This game sets the pace; if they win, I don't see them getting tripped up again until they travel Reno.
So how are they going to win? The offensive line needs to have a big day. The defensive line of Fresno racked up 8 sacks against the Bearcats...8! 3.5 by defensive tackle Logan Harrell. Utah State allowed 2 against Oklahoma and 1 against Idaho State, a great start by a line who's been historically bad for the last decade. The speed and strength they play today is going to be very similar to what they faced in Norman and without a stellar performance up front, the offense won't be able to move the ball.
On the other side, the front 7 on defense need to create havoc for Fresno QB Ryan Colburn. Down 14 nothing early to Cincinnati, he led the Bulldogs back matching a career high for touchdown passes with 4. Last year they had to worry about Matthews running the ball, this year it's Colburn and the passing attack. If there's no pressure on him, it's going to be a long day for Curtis Marsh and co. in the secondary.
But as I said in my blog yesterday, I predict good things for the Aggie D today. I believe this is the day they get over the hump and beat the Bulldogs. The defense will force a few turnovers and give the offense a chance to score some easy points. Kerwynn Williams will return a kickoff for a TD and the Aggies will win the game in the neighborhood of 24-20.