LOGAN, Utah – For the third time in the last four years, Utah State football will be hosting a nationally televised game, as the Aggies’ game against Utah will be on ESPN2, highlighting USU’s 2012 schedule which was released Monday by the Western Athletic Conference.
The Aggies and Utes will tangle on Friday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. (MT) at Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium. It will be the 110th meeting between USU and Utah, resuming the rivalry after a two-year hiatus. The Beehive State battle will be the Aggies’ third time in the last four seasons with a home game on national television, after hosting Boise State in 2009, BYU in 2010 and Utah in 2012.
The USU-UU game is the only game involving a WAC team already scheduled with ESPN on ESPN2. Other games to be televised on ESPN networks, along with starting times, will be determined later this spring.
“We’re excited for the opportunity to play three of the four in-state schools, including starting the season at home with two of them, highlighted by the Utah game being nationally televised. That will give us the chance to showcase Utah State football and Utah State University to the country, which is a huge recruiting tool for us,” USU head coach Gary Andersen said. “It is a very challenging schedule and with the two new teams to the WAC, our league remains highly competitive and is very well-respected throughout the country. We’re excited to start our preparations for the 2012 season with spring practice in a couple weeks.”
Utah State will have six home games, as well as two bye weeks among the 14-week, 12-game schedule in 2012. Both byes come in the final four weeks of the season, with the first coming on Saturday, Nov. 10 and the second on Saturday, Dec. 1.
“Our fall schedule will be challenging but having six home games again gives us balance and some exciting match-ups for our fans. The nationally televised home game vs. Utah, two Mountain West opponents, Southern Utah and BYU bring with them strong regional interest,” said USU Athletics Director Scott Barnes.
The Aggies will host three non-conference games and three conference games, including hosting new WAC member Texas State on Nov. 3, in the first-ever meeting between the Aggies and Bobcats. That comes a week after USU’s road trip to San Antonio, Texas for USU’s inaugural match-up with another WAC newcomer, UT-San Antonio, on Oct. 27. Utah State will host non-conference foes Southern Utah (Aug. 30), Utah (Sept. 7) and UNLV (Sept. 29), as well as home games against WAC foes New Mexico State (Oct. 20), Texas State (Nov. 3) and Idaho (Nov. 24). USU will play non-conference road games at Wisconsin (Sept. 15), Colorado State (Sept. 22) and BYU (Oct. 5), while playing at league opponents San Jose State (Oct. 13), UT-San Antonio (Oct. 27) and Louisiana Tech (Nov. 17).
The 2012 schedule marks the third-straight season and fourth time in the last five years to play six home games. It is the fifth time in last 16 years that USU will host six games at home, also doing so in 2010, 2008 and 1998, although six were scheduled in 2005, but the season-opener vs. Nicholls State was cancelled due to Hurricane Katrina. Entering USU’s 114th season of football in 119 years, the Aggies have had six home games on the slate a total of only nine times: 2012, 2011, 2010, 2008, 1998, 1996, 1995, 1978, 1952.
For the first time since 2007, USU opens the season with a home game, and it is only the sixth time in the last 20 years that the Aggies had a home game in the opening week, when Utah State hosts in-state foe Southern Utah on Thursday, Aug. 30. USU and SUU last met in Andersen’s first home game at the helm of the Aggies in 2009, and Utah State leads the all-time series, 2-0.
USU’s home game against Utah on Friday, Sept. 7 marks the first time since 1996 that the Aggies open a season with back-to-back home games and is only the seventh time since 1950, joining 1996, 1990, 1961, 1953, 1951 and 1950.
The 2012 slate marks the second time in four years that USU will face three in-state foes, as in 2009 the Aggies faced the same three from this season in Utah, SUU and BYU. Prior to 2009, USU hadn’t played three Beehive State teams in the same season since 2001, when USU played Utah, BYU and Weber State that year, a season after playing Utah, BYU and Southern Utah in the same ledger.
Utah is one of four teams on USU’s 2012 schedule that went to a bowl game in 2011, as the Utes played in the Sun Bowl (W, 30-27 over Georgia Tech). The Aggies will also face bowl teams Wisconsin (lost to Oregon, 45-38, in Rose Bowl), BYU (Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, W, 24-21 vs. Tulsa) and Louisiana Tech (San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, L, 31-24 vs. TCU).
Wisconsin in the only opponent on USU’s 2012 ledger that was ranked in the final Associated Press poll, finishing at No. 10, while BYU was first among others recieving votes in the poll.
In its first road game of the season, Utah State will travel to Madison, Wis., to take on Wisconsin on Saturday, Sept. 15. It will be the Aggies’ second-ever meeting with the Badgers, first meeting in 1968 when Utah State won, 20-0. USU will also be facing a Big 10 opponent for the first time since playing at Nebraska in 2003. Utah State’s visit to Camp Randall will be Wisconsin’s fourth-straight WAC opponent after Fresno State in 2008 and 2009 along with San Jose State last season.
On Saturday, Sept. 22, USU will head to Fort Collins, Colo., to face Colorado State. The Aggies will be looking to avenge last year’s 35-34 double OT loss to the Rams in 2011, and will be USU’s first visit to Fort Collins since 1994. CSU leads the all-time series, 35-30-2, having won the last four meetings and six of the last eight.
After the game at CSU, Utah State faces a second Mountain West Conference foe for the season time in as many weeks when the Aggies host UNLV on Saturday, Sept. 29. USU last played UNLV in 2008 and the Aggies lead the all-time series, 12-7. That will also be USU’s Homecoming game, marking the third time that UNLV has been the Aggies’ Homecoming opponent, with USU winning the previous two, in 1986 and 1990.
Utah State will head to Provo, Utah for the second year in a row, playing at BYU on Friday, Oct. 5 in the 82nd meeting with the Aggies battling the Cougars for the Old Wagon Wheel. It will mark the 15th time in the last 19 meetings since 1987 that USU and BYU will be battling on a Friday night. The Cougars hold a 44-34-3 series lead.
To open its eighth season of WAC action, Utah State will travel to San Jose, Calif., to face San Jose State on Saturday, Oct. 13. It marks the second year in a row and the third time in the last four that the Aggies begin league play on the road. USU has won the last three meetings with SJSU overall to cut the Spartans lead in the series to 20-13-1.
In its home WAC opener, USU will host New Mexico State in an all-Aggie clash on Saturday, Oct. 20. The northern Aggies hold a 29-7 advantage over their southern brethren, winning four of the last meetings.
Utah State will then face the two newcomers to the football conference slate, playing at UT-San Antonio on Saturday, Oct. 27 and then hosting Texas State on Saturday, Nov. 3. After their first bye, the Aggies’ final regular-season road trip will be to Ruston, La., to take on defending league champion Louisiana Tech on Nov. 17. LA Tech holds a 6-3 series lead, having taken six of the last seven meetings with USU.
The Aggies then close out regular-season action on Saturday, Nov. 24 hosting Idaho, as the Vandals are the final game on USU’s schedule for the third time in the last six seasons. Utah State has a 19-17-2 series advantage, having won four of the last five meetings.
Utah State football opens spring camp on March 27 and concludes spring drills with the Blue-White Spring Game, sponsored by Orbit Irrigation Products, on Saturday, April 28 at 2 p.m. (MT) at Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium. Admission will again be free to the public and further details along with events surrounding the Spring Game will be released at a later date.
Utah State football season ticket renewals and new sales for the 2012 season are available at 2011’s prices until May 1. Renewals are available online 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com and clicking on the “buy/renew tickets” under the “tickets” drop down menu. Fans interested in new sales should contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on the USU football blog at usufootball.wordpress.com. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.