On a day that was supposed to be filled with the pride and tradition of Utah State University’s storied past, the Aggie’s homecoming game against Hawaii was more reminiscent of recent football history, filled with futility. The Warriors dominated the Aggies, particularly in the second half, leaving Logan with a 45-7 victory. The rain starting falling late in the first quarter, the fans left. The announced attendance was 17,111 but the exodus continued throughout the first half and during halftime. By the start of the third, it looked more like a crowd coming to see a fall scrimmage than a homecoming football game. USU trotted out representatives of the 1960 and 1961 football teams (arguably the most successful two year span in USU’s football history), officially unveiled a larger-than-life statue of USU’s all-time greatest athlete in Merlin Olsen, and even had an extra week to prepare. None of it was enough as Aggie miscues led to Hawaii touchdowns time and time again. Diondre Borel was intercepted twice, sacked once (for a loss of 19 yards) and had multiple passes batted down at the line of scrimmage. “That’s a frustrating thing,” USU’s head coach Gary Andersen said of his starting quarterback. “The person that’s most frustrated with that is Diondre Borel. He’s an unbelievable competitor and a great young man.” Andersen refused to lay any blame at Borel’s feet for a very lackluster game that mustered only 112 yards passing and 26 yards net rushing. “He’s pressing,” Andersen continued. “It’s not Diondre, it’s Diondre’s supporting cast. The frustrating times Diondre is having come back on myself. We’re going to do everything we can to help him and let him compete.” Borel did have a 35 yard run to the endzone for the Aggie’s only score, pushing Borel above 7,000 offensive yards for his career. Another player had a career night, unfortunately he was on the other team. Alex Green, the Warriors’ running back, tallied career highs in rushing (172 yards) and touchdowns (four). Despite three positive plays in the first half for USU (an endzone interception by Rajric Coleman, Diondre’s 35 yard touchdown scamper, and another endzone interception, this time by Curtis Marsh), it seemed like Hawaii was in control the entire game. Hawaii outgained USU in yards (607-208), first downs (29-12), and time of possession, holding on to the ball for nearly 10 more minutes. In the first half particularly, Hawaii almost never faced a third down it couldn’t convert while Utah State was exactly opposite. On the night, USU went 1-12 on third downs. Everything really turned Hawaii’s way with three key plays in the third quarter. On a punt, a slippery football escaped Peter Caldwell’s grasp and landed right in the hands of a pursuing David Graves who ran it in for a touchdown. On USU’s next offensive series, Diondre threw an interception to a waiting Corey Paredes on the Aggies’ second play. Green then took the hand off and ran it 36 yards for another Warrior touchdown. Those 14 points in a such a short amount of time sealed the win for Hawaii. After the Louisiana Tech loss on the road, Aggie coaches had been preaching how important it is for their team to play with emotion. “From that stand point we got exactly what we wanted out of this team,” Andersen said. “The youthfulness showed up like we wanted in the enthusiasm.” Outside of the youthful enthusiasm, coach Andersen didn’t see a lot that made him too happy. “The emotions were good and the youth came out and played,” he said. “Outside of that there’s not a whole lot of good out of this game.” “You have to be who you are and keep fighting,” Andersen continued after the game, “and that’s where we’re having trouble, finding our identity on offense.” “I know exactly where this program sits,” he said. “I know exactly where we are as coaches. We’re going to come back and try to win. I’m sorry about the people that came into town for this one game of the year. I understand exactly where we sit as a program. It’s not where I want to be right now.” Utah State’s next opponent is a waiting University of Nevada Wolfpack, a team that has been smarting from its first loss of the season at Hawaii and a week off to stew about it. Kickoff between the Aggies and the Wolfpack was moved back to 8:30 to be shown on ESPNU.
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