Utah State Preview 2006
Utah State Aggies
Posted Aug 9, 2006

Say this about Utah State football over the last few seasons; it's been consistent.

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis

Three straight three-win seasons isn't anything to do jumping jacks about, but last year was different. It was the debut of head coach Brent Guy, who wasn't afraid right off the bat to get fresh faces in key spots. The lumps taken should pay off with as many as 12 sophomores looking to play prominent roles.  

The second big change was the conference. After two years of doing nothing in the Sun Belt, the Aggies did nothing in the WAC coming only beating San Jose State and New Mexico State to go along with a non-conference shocker over UNLV.

There's not going to be a major turnaround in year two and there won't be much hope of competing for the conference title, but the team should be better and it proved it could be competitive by the end of last year playing Nevada and Louisiana Tech tough before beating New Mexico State.

Head coach: Brent Guy
2nd year: 3-8
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 17, Def. 16, ST 1
Lettermen Lost: 17
Ten Best Aggie Players
1. WR/PR Kevin Robinson, Jr.
2. WR/KR Tony Pennyman, Sr.
3. FS Terrence Washington, Sr.
4. LB Jake Hutton Soph.
RB Marcus Cross, Jr.
QB Leon Jackson III, Jr.
7. OG Malik Cin, Sr.
8. LB Devon Hall, Soph.
9. DT Brian Soi, Soph.
10. CB Marquise Charles, Soph.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction:

9/2 at Wyoming
9/9 at Arkansas
9/16 Utah
9/23 at BYU
9/30 Idaho
10/7 Fresno State
10/14 at San Jose State
10/21 at Louisiana Tech
11/4 Hawaii
11/11 at Nevada
11/18 at Boise State
11/25 New Mexico State

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 2-10
2005 Record:
Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/3 Nicholls State ppd
9/10 at Utah L 31-7
9/24 UNLV W 31-24
10/1 at Idaho L 27-13
10/8 San Jose St W 24-17
10/15 at Fresno State L 53-21
10/22 Boise State L 45-21
10/29 at Alabama L 35-3
11/5 Louisiana Tech L 27-17
11/12 at Hawaii L 50-23
11/19 Nevada L 30-24
11/26 at NMSU W 24-21

First and foremost, the offense needs a running game from someone other than the quarterbacks. JUCO transfer Marcus Cross needs to be a key cog in the attack right off the bat and big Lynwood Johnson has to wear out defenses late in games. The passing game should be better with the return of All-WAC candidates Kevin Robinson and Tony Pennyman at receiver and Leon Jackson III at quarterback.  Robinson and Pennyman are two of the nation's better return men.
 The defense returns enough experience to be a little bit better than last year, but it has some mile-wide holes to fill losing pass rushing terror John Chick and corner Jarrett Bush, who was one of the nation's leaders in broken up passes. Finding a steady kicking game and improving the coverage units would be a big help.
 With only one winning season since 1993, the Aggies don't have to do too much to have one of their best seasons in recent years. But with only a few seniors in the two-deep depth chart, this might be a stepping stone to 2007.

The Schedule: It's not awful. You could do worse with a non-conference slate than play at Wyoming, at Arkansas, Utah and at BYU. The Aggies probably aren't good enough to hang around with Nevada or Boise State, so it's not the worst thing in the world to have those two games on the road. Home games against Idaho and New Mexico State have to be must wins, while coming away with a victory at San Jose State will be necessary to have any prayer of a winning season.

Best Offensive Player: Junior WR Kevin Robinson and Senior WR Tony Pennyman. Robinson is big and fast, Pennyman is short and quick, and both are good enough to be in the hunt for All-WAC honors. They've combined to be the stars of the passing game over the last two seasons and will also be on the All-America short lists as kick returners.

Best Defensive Player: Senior FS Terrence Washington. A ball-hawking all-star before a knee injury knocked him out in 2004, Washington wasn't quite right last season. If he gets his range back this year, he'll be one of the league's better all-around defenders.

Key player to a successful season: Junior RB Marcus Cross. Ryan Bohm led the Aggies in rushing last season with 340 yards and four touchdowns. The number two running back was Chris Forbes, who ran for 137 yards and two scores. Cross, a JUCO transfer, has to be a 150-carry back and needs to average over four yards a pop.

The season will be a success if ... Utah State wins five games. It'll likely only be favored against Idaho and New Mexico State, so it should take a few upsets to be within range of a winning season. Having not won five or more games in five years, it would be a good turnaround season to go into late November with an outside chance of pulling off six victories.

Key game: November 4th vs. Hawaii. The Warriors are notoriously average away from home, and Utah State has to take advantage. Hawaii is the far better team, but the Aggies need this win as the only home oasis sandwiched between four road trips.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Kickoff return average: Opponents 24.5 yards per return - Utah State 24.1 yards per return
- Interception return average: Opponents 21.5 yards per returns - Utah State 5.3 yards per return
- Yards per carry: Opponents 3.9 - Utah State 2.9

The Last Time Utah State…
…played in a bowl game…1997 (Humanitarian Bowl vs. Cincinnati)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…2003 (Arkansas State)
…was shutout…2004 (Middle Tennessee State)
…scored 50 points…2001 (Weber State)
…went undefeated…1936
…won a conference title…1997 (share, Big West)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2002 (Jose Fuentes)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2001 (Emmett White)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2002 (Kevin Curtis)
…had a first-round draft choice…1970 (DT Phil Olsen)

Related Stories
Utah State Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 9, 2006
Utah State Preview 2006 - Further Analysis
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 9, 2006
Utah State Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by CollegeFootballNews.com  Aug 9, 2006

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