LOGAN — Coach Gary Andersen made his second career home field debut as the “new” head coach for Utah State Saturday night at Maverik Stadium.
After six seasons away from the school, the Aggies pulled out a whopping 62-7 victory over the visiting Stony Brook Seawolves to welcome him back.
Upon returning to Logan in December, Andersen — though reunited with several players he recruited to come play at Utah State — brought three players from the University of Utah with him, built an impressive coaching staff, and started recruiting to fill big shoes after a handful of graduates and NFL draftees left an 11-2 team from last year.
The vast majority of Cache Valley was happy to have “Coach A” back in Logan and this Saturday’s home opener against Stony Brook was special for the community, as it was for the Andersen family.
“I haven’t been on that field like that,” Andersen said, referring to the new jumbotron and press box from two seasons ago. “I don’t know another word to say that other than it was just awesome for me.”
On that field, his team dominated with 717 total offensive yards (the second most in school history) and 35 first downs, and his defense only allowed 263 total yards.
After starting off the season with a loss against Wake Forest last week, Andersen said the win meant they would have a lot of momentum looking ahead through a bye week and a big conference game against San Diego State (who beat UCLA in the Bruins' home opener) on the horizon.
While the Aztecs may not have any direct comparison with either Wake Forest or Stony Brook, Andersen and his Aggies don’t seem too focused on that. Andersen said his team has got a lot of their own stuff to focus on and fix as they move forward.
Moving forward seems to be a theme in Andersen’s coaching style.
It’s what he said they would do after the loss to Wake Forest last week, what he said he would do when he first returned to Utah State last winter, and what he hopes each player will do from day to day.
A few of those players — Jordan Love, Deven Thompkins and Savon Scarver — have said playing for “Coach A” makes it easy to move forward from game to game and practice to practice.
“I love being coached by (him),” Love said. “He makes me want to go out and compete.”
“Coach Andersen pushes us every day to not be mediocre,” Thompkins said. “That’s the standard around here.”
“I would go to war for Coach A,” Scarver added.
Fans already loved him, and now his players seem to have bought in to his style as well. If nothing else proves that, take the win over the Seawolves as evidence: a complete game with three different quarterbacks playing meaningful minutes and scoring touchdowns, and tranfers like Siaosi Mariner and Caleb Repp making big plays.
Sure, it’s only the first home game of the season, but for Andersen, that’s something truly special.
“It’s great to be back in the stadium, personally,” Andersen said. “It was a great day.”