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The top moments of the decade for Utah State University athletics

By Ryan Miller, | Posted - Dec. 28, 2019 at 10:10 p.m.

LOGAN — It’s been quite a decade in Logan.

Utah State returned to relevance on the football field, lost a legendary basketball coach and joined a new conference.

As the calendar turns, we take a look back at the stories that defined the decade at USU.

USU football beats BYU in 2010

The 2010 season wasn’t a banner year for the Aggie football team, but there was one game that helped set the tone for the success that would come during the decade. On Oct. 1, 2010, in Logan, USU beat BYU 31-16, earning the Aggies their first win over the Cougars in 17 years.

The Aggies would go also break a long winless streak in Provo during the decade. In 2014, USU beat BYU on the road for the first time since 1978.

USU goes bowling for the first time in a long time

It almost seems strange now, but December football was a rarity for USU fans. During the decade, the Aggies went to eight bowl games. In all the years prior, they had gone to just six. In 2011, with a 21-17 win over Nevada in late November, the Aggies clinched their first bowl trip since 1997. They would go onto lose in the Idaho Potato Bowl that season, but by the decade’s end, USU could claim four bowl victories.

The 2012 conference championship season

In 2012, Utah State won its first conference championship since 1997, won its first bowl game since 1993 and finished the season ranked No. 16 in the AP poll. Quarterback Chuckie Keeton threw for 3,373 yards and 27 touchdowns and ran for another 619 yards and eight touchdowns as the Aggies set a school record for wins (11) in a season.

Chuckie Keeton passes the ball during USU's win over Utah in 2012. (Rick Bowmer, AP Photo)

It made Keeton a national name, Gary Andersen a highly sought after coach (he would leave for Wisconsin following the year), and it even included a win over Utah. The historic year was oh-so-close to being even better, too: The Aggies’ two losses in 2012 came by a combined five points.

Aggies join the Mountain West Conference

With the WAC splitting up due to conference realignment, Utah State found the home it had waited years for: a spot alongside some of the more prominent programs in the West in a secure conference. In 2012, the Aggies accepted an invitation to join the Mountain West Conference — something that helped the programs continue their recent successes.

Stew retires

On March 12, 2015, Stew Morrill coached his final game as the Utah State men’s basketball coach.

Stew Morrill talks to guard JoJo McGlaston in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game during his final season. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)

Morrill coached the Aggies for 17 years, leading the Aggies eight trips to the NCAA tournament (and a magical Big Dance win over Ohio State in 2001), seven conference titles and two 30-win seasons.

Aggies in the NFL

Led by the likes of All-Pro Bobby Wagner, USU had a strong presence in the NFL over the last 10 years. Utah State had 12 players taken in the NFL draft during the decade, including Nick Vigil, Robert Turbin and Nevin Lawson. And many other undrafted players have found spots in the league too — like Carolina Panthers center Tyler Larsen.

Torrey Green trial

In January 2019, the former Utah State linebacker was found guilty of five counts of rape and sexually assaulting a sixth woman during his time in Logan. The one-time NFL prospect, who had signed with the Atlanta Falcons before being released as a result of the allegations, was sentenced to at least 26 years in prison.

Three of Green's victims are suing Utah State for not responding adequately to complaints field against Green, and Green is still awaiting trial for another rape lawsuit.

Matt Wells and Jordan Love lead special 2018 season

Wells was coming off of three-straight losing seasons and his seat was starting to look a bit toasty. Then, 2018 happened.

Behind quarterback Love, the Aggies won a program-record-tying 11 games and climbed as high as No. 14 in the AP poll before finishing the year at No. 22. After the season, Wells left Logan for Texas Tech.

Utah State coach Matt Wells and Jordan Love led the Aggies to a historic season in 2018. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Craig Smith revitalizes USU basketball in 2018-19

Smith inherited a program coming off an eight-win MWC campaign and one that hadn’t won a conference championship since 2011. It didn’t take him long to bring USU basketball back to relevancy.

In his first season, Smith’s Aggies won 28 games (15 in conference), earning a share of the regular-season title, and then won the conference tournament to earn the program’s first NCAA tournament bid in eight years. Smith was named the MWC Coach of the Year.

Gary Andersen returns for a second run

To replace Wells, the Aggies turned to a familiar face.

After making stops at Wisconsin, Oregon State and Utah, Andersen returned to the football program he helped get right. Andersen brought the Aggies back to relevancy at the start of the decade, and he’ll enter the next decade with a different challenge: building on one of the most successful eras of USU football ever.

Ryan Miller

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