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LOGAN -- The Utah State Aggies will play their first conference home game Saturday when they host WAC foe Nevada (2-3) at 1 p.m.
USU is coming off a heartbreaking loss in its conference opener on the road at New Mexico State, while Nevada opened up WAC play with a 37-14 home win over Louisiana Tech.
After struggling early with road losses at Notre Dame and Colorado State, the Wolf Pack have turned into one of the most dynamic offense's in the country and now lead the nation in rushing with an average of 288.8 yards per game on the ground.
"It is a different offense; it is run out of the pistol. It is option-oriented and is a very good offense," said USU head coach Gary Andersen. "They have a big physical offensive line. They have three or four running backs that are very good. They also have a unique scheme, and they don't have a weakness on the offensive side of the ball. That they are No. 1 in the country in running the ball, that speaks for itself."
That offense, led by preseason WAC offensive player of the year Collin Kaepernick, could pose big problems for a USU defense that despite an improved effort last week-- the Aggies only gave up 230 yards to NMSU--has given up a lot of yards all season.
"Nevada has a great offense. They have three or four guys that can all rush for over 100 yards a game," said USU senior safety James Brindley. "They have three good backs and a good quarterback, so it is going to be a tough task. We have played well against them in the past. We just have to practice hard."
Nevada's offense, however, isn't the only dangerous unit that will be taking the field at Romney Stadium. Led by junior quarterback Diondre Borel, the Aggies will also be bringing some firepower. Borel is No. 25 in the country in total offense; two spots ahead of Kaepernick.
Spending the majority of time in the backfield with Borel will be sophomore running back Robert Turbin, who is coming off a 184-yard rushing performance. That, despite two 40-yard runs being negated by holding penalties and cramps holding him to no yards in the fourth quarter last week.
As a team, USU is No. 18 in the country in rushing, averaging 208.8 yards per game, as well as the No. 18 team in total offense. Turbin is the No.7 rusher in the country, averaging just less than 121 yards per game. Needless to say, both teams are preparing for a shootout in Logan Saturday.
"Their offense helps them by controlling the football," Andersen said. "You are basically in a track meet to try to keep up with them on the scoreboard."
Keeping up on the scoreboard and not just in the statistics may be the toughest problem for USU as it tries to pull the upset. The Aggies have had no trouble hanging with their opponents statistically this season, but USU has shown problems in being able to finish drives and put points on the board.
That problem has been a point of emphasis this week for Andersen, who said the Aggies must become better at converting on third down--especially in third down and short situations.
"The bottom line is, it doesn't matter how well you move the ball between the 20s," Andersen said. "When you get into the red zone you have to score."
After they take on the Wolf Pack, the Aggies will remain home next week in their first homestand of the season as the team takes on Louisiana Tech.