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Utah State Football: 2008 Season in review

Utah State Football: 2008 Season in review

Estimated read time: 8-9 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

- 2008 Record: 3-9 - WAC Record: 3-5 (7th)

LOGAN - The Utah State football team was optimistic heading into the 2008 season. Head coach Brent Guy was heading into his fourth season at the helm, allowing him to have players on the roster that he recruited. However, the Aggies were undecided on who would be their starting quarterback. Would they go with senior Sean Setzer or sophomore Diondre Borel? Neither of them had any experience at the college level.

The indecision led to a dual quarterback system, which was a disaster waiting to happen. A dual quarterback system is very difficult to pull off in college football. The QB position requires players to be both confident and consistent. When a coach decides to rotate QBs, it is hard for players to develop enough confidence in themselves to make the throw and enough consistency to put the ball on target.

The Aggies had been one of the weakest teams in the WAC (Western Athletic Conference) since joining the conference in 2005. The last two had been particularly harsh on the Aggies, who only won one game in 2006 and two in 2007.

Three wins over two seasons wasn't exactly thrilling the fans or satisfying the administration. The staff knew that Utah State would have to have a solid year in 2008 or changes would be coming their way.

Game 1 - at UNLV
FINAL: L 27-17

Recap: The Aggies had reason to be feeling good in Las Vegas after a 12 play 82 yard drive ended with a 1 yard rushing touchdown by Robert Turbin which tied the game up at 7 early in the 2nd quarter. Two first half turnovers proved to be costly though as the Rebels scored 17 straight points to go up 24-7. Five minutes into the third quarter, starting QB Sean Setzer is replaced by Diondre Borel. Borel is able to provide a spark for the offense, but the deficit was too much to overcome.

Game 2 - at Oregon
FINAL: L 66-24

Recap: Things didn't get any easier for the Aggies as they traveled to Eugene to take on No. 18 Oregon. Utah State rotated the QBs more than against UNLV, but the Aggies were just outmatched against the Ducks, falling behind 35-7 in the first half. Even though Utah State lost big in this one, Diondre Borel was a bright spot, stepping up and throwing 16-24 for 157 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Game 3 - vs Utah
FINAL: L 58-10

Recap: About the only thing that went well in their home opener against the Utes was that the Aggies actually held a 7-0 lead early in the game, thanks to sloppy special teams play by Utah. Sean Setzer threw a 9 yard TD pass after the Aggies recovered the first of three dropped punts by the Utes, but that was about the only positive for the Aggies. The Utes outgained Utah State 446-116 in total yards. Both Aggie quarterbacks played poorly, going a combined 9-23 for 89 yards.

Game 4 - vs Idaho
FINAL: W 42-17

Recap: Starting the season 0-3 wasn't exactly what Coach Guy had wanted, but given their schedule, there wasn't much room for error. Guy knew he needed to switch things up to get the offense moving. After playing well against Oregon and UNLV, Diondre Borel made his first career start against Idaho. Borel went 12-21 for 191 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for 93 yards and another touchdown, but the Aggies only led 21-17 heading into the 4th quarter. The defense came up big as DE Ben Calderwood recovered a fumble in the end zone with 12 minutes remaining. The Aggies never looked back, scoring two more rushing touchdowns (Robert Turbin, Curtis Marsh) to give them their first win of the season.

Game 5 - vs BYU
FINAL: L 34-14

Recap: Utah State became the first team to score against the No. 8 Cougars in nearly three full games, but a 24 point first quarter deficit was too much to overcome. The Aggies committed three first quarter turnovers that led to 17 BYU points. Falling behind 34-0 heading into the 4th quarter, Utah State easily could have thrown in the towel, but instead they continued to play hard, pushing the Cougars harder than UCLA or Wyoming did.

Game 6 - at San Jose State
FINAL: L 30-7

Recap: After showing a lot of effort in the 2nd half a week before against BYU, the Aggies failed to show up at all in this one. Utah State failed on all of their first 11 third down conversions before finishing only 3-16. Borel went 8-21 for 66 yards and 2 interceptions. With the offense stagnant, Sean Setzer came in for a few minutes and led the Aggies to a late 4th quarter touchdown drive to avoid the shutout. This was an ugly game for Utah State.

Game 7 - at Nevada
FINAL: L 44-17

Recap: The Aggies showed promise early on against the Wolfpack, cutting an early Nevada lead to 13-7 after Borel threw a 16 yard touchdown pass for Otis Nelson. But Nevada answered on their next possession, taking a 20-7 lead into halftime. Utah State was flagged for multiple drive killing penalties, turning manageable third downs into 3rd and long. Borel finished the game 19-38 for 262 yards and two touchdowns. The highlight of the game came when Borel completed a 52 yard touchdown pass to Otis Nelson in the fourth quarter.

Game 8 - vs Fresno St.
FINAL: L 30-28

Recap: This was the most disappointing game all season for Utah State. Marquis Butler scored from 1 yard out to give the Aggies a 28-27 lead with just 38 seconds left in the game, but Kevin Goessling kicked a 58-yard field goal to win the game for Fresno St. as time expired. The kick left the Aggies sitting at 1-7 on the season.

Game 9 - vs Hawaii
FINAL: W 30-14

Recap: The Aggies needed a win, badly. And, surprisingly enough, they were able to pull off an upset against the visiting Warriors. Utah State scored first on a 34 yard field goal by Peter Caldwell. They built on the early lead, pulling ahead 13-7 by halftime. The Aggies stretched the lead to 20-7 on a 23 yard pass from Borel to Robert Turbin. Diondre Borel finished the game with 223 yards passing and 87 yards rushing.

Game 10 - at Boise St.
FINAL: L 49-14

Recap: Despite the final score, this game was much closer than the Broncos wanted. After being ineffective, Aggie QB Diondre Borel is replaced by Sean Setzer, who threw a 51 yard TD pass to Doug Barbour with 35 seconds left in the first half. On their first possession of the second half, the Aggies scored again when Setzer connected with Robert Turbin from 29 yards out, cutting the Boise St. lead to 28-14. Utah State had a chance to make it a one possession game, but a costly fumble ended a potential scoring drive. The Broncos then pulled out their bag of tricks to build on their lead. Four players ended up throwing touchdown passes to lead Boise St. to its eighth straight victory over the Aggies.

Game 11 - at Louisiana Tech
FINAL: L 45-38

Recap: This was another heartbreaking loss for the Aggies. Borel was back at QB for Utah State, and he rallied the Aggies to take a 38-35 lead on a 13 yard run with 11:30 left in the game after trailing 35-17 in the third quarter. Louisiana Tech answered with a 6 play 60 yard drive to take the lead 42-38. A late interception by Louisiana Tech ended the Aggies' comeback chances, and Utah State, once again, walks away with another loss from a very winnable game.

Game 12 - vs New Mexico St.
FINAL: W 47-2

Recap: A team with a 2-9 record rarely is on the winning end of a 40-plus point rout, but the Aggies came through in a big way for their head coach's last game. The defense was fierce, holding New Mexico State for a net loss of 7 yards rushing on the day and sacking QB Chase Holbrook six times. The Aggie offense piled up 241 rushing yards and five players scored touchdowns in the rout.

Wrap Up

The Aggies showed glimpses of promise throughout the season, but for some reason they were only able to put together three complete games. Inconsistent play at the quarterback position led to an inefficient offense, while untimely penalties turned out to be significant drive killers.

The Aggies were just a few plays from ending the season 5-7 rather than 3-9, but inexperience caused mistakes at critical moments late in games. Utah State played both BYU and Boise State tough, but then they let San Jose State and Nevada walk all over them. The disappointing season led to the firing of Brent Guy, who went 9-38 as Utah State's head coach.

2008 Key Stats

  • The Aggies ranked 107th (out of 119) in scoring defense, allowing 34.7 points per game
  • Utah State ranked 3rd nationally in red zone efficiency (94%)
  • Utah State ranked 104th in 3rd down efficiency (33%)
  • The Aggies ranked 108th in penalties per game (7)

2008 Team Leaders

Diondre Borel, 136-242 1705 yards, 11 TDs

Diondre Borel, 179 carries, 635 yards, 5 TDs
Robert Turbin, 106 carries, 485 yards, 8 TDs

Otis Nelson, 37 receptions, 455 yards, 4 TDs
Stanley Morrison, 26 receptions, 291 yards, 1 TD

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