Location: Logan, Utah (Maverik Stadium)
Date/Time: Saturday, September 30th at 12:00 EST (10:00 Utah Time)
Television: Mountian West Network
Radio: Aggie Sports Network
Streaming: You can stream the game here.
Odds: Colorado State (-3) Provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
Head-to-Head: Utah State and Colorado State have played 78 total times and Colorado State leads the overall series, 39-37 with two ties in the series. Since 2018 Utah State has won four matchups in 2018 (29-24), 2019 (34-24), 2021 (26-24), and 2022 (17-13). From 2017 to 2016 Colorado State won in 31-24 and 27-14 games. Since joining the Mountain West Utah State is 6-3 against the Rams. Between 1994 and 2011 Colorado State beat Utah State four times. Between 1971 and 1975 Utah State won five games against Colorado State. The longest winning streak for Utah State came between 1960 and 1965, when Utah State won six games. The longest losing streak for the Aggies came from 1919 - 1925, a six-game losing streak.
Three things to look for:
1. Can Utah State slow down the Colorado State passing game?
Colorado State has found success in the passing game with freshman Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi, who has so far thrown for 1360 yards and 11 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. The Rams are averaging 384 passing yards per game while Utah State is allowing 244 passing yards per game. Stopping wide receiver Tory Horton will also be key to slowing down the Colorado State passing game. The Rams average 455 total yards per game and over half of the total yardage comes from the passing game.
2. Can Cooper Legas stay consistent?
Last game, Cooper Legas returned to action and threw for 204 yards and three touchdowns and only had two incomplete passes. Legas would also be the leading rusher for the Aggies, going for 26 yards on six carries and Utah State would pass for 315 yards. In order to keep consistency though Utah State needs to be able to build strength in the run game and this is something the Aggies have been unable to do. Part of keeping Cooper Legas consistent and keeping the ball movement for the offense is going to be to limit the penalties. Utah State is tied for 85th in the nation as they have committed 34 penalties for 290 yards, and this is going to affect the consistency of Cooper Legas, especially with holding and false start penalties. A bright sign for Utah State is that Colorado State is giving up 319 passing yards a game which means if Cooper Legas is having a good day the Aggies stand a much better chance to put up a strong performance.
3. Can the third down conversions improve?
This has been a recurring question in the past weeks for Utah State. The Aggies are tied for 95th in the nation on third-down conversions with a conversion percentage of 36.4%. The key is simple: Don’t get behind the chains. Create third-down and manageable situations. Defensively Colorado State is giving up 118 rushing yards per game, so if Utah State could find a way to run the football, that would greatly increase the chances of converting third downs. Giving the defense rest is going to be a critical factor in this game.
Cooper Legas gets the start with MCcae Hillstead still out due to concussion protocols, but Utah State is in good hands, in fact, they are in the hands that they started the season with. The receivers group is starting to step up more, however, the running backs now need to step up for the Aggies in order for Utah State to be successful. Defensively, Utah State needs to be able to get off the field, which is going to require the Aggies to get after freshman Brayden Fowler Nicolosi and slowing down Tory Horton.
Colordao State is not the same team from the past couple of years. They look much better. However, over the past two game the Rams haven’t faced much competition. This is going to be Colorado State’s first test since playing at Colorado earlier in the season. In the last game Nicolosi passed for 462 yards and four touchdowns and Tory Horton caught three touchdowns. The number one key to winning this game may be to find a way to get Colorado State into bad field position and off the field. This feels like the type of game where field position is going to be a major factor. With the leadership of Cooper Legas growing, Utah State wins a close one late in the game.
Score prediction: Utah State: 28, Colorado State: 24