Utah football notes: Series will continue after hiatus
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Thursday's game was the last in the Utah-Utah State series until 2012 when the Utes travel to Logan.

The series was bumped to make room for the Utes' trip to Notre Dame next season and, in part, to lighten the Aggies' schedule as the new coaching staff rebuilds the program.

Both sides say they want to keep the series going, particularly Utah, which entered the game with a 76-28-4 advantage.

"It's a healthy series," Whittingham said. "It's good for the state of Utah and for both schools."

Thursday's game was the 108th played between the teams, making the series the 12th-longest in the nation.

"We're going on a two-year hiatus, but we'd like to keep it going," Utah athletic director Chris Hill said. "There is a lot of tradition in it too."

Good to see you

The Utah and Utah State football teams exchanged a pregame handshake Thursday. The ceremonial greeting, which isn't mandatory, comes at the request of the American Football Coaches Association which hopes the action will promote sportsmanship through the symbolism.

Good to see you II

Utah State coach Gary Andersen isn't the only coach on the Aggies' staff with Utah ties. His defensive coordinator, Bill Busch , coached Utah's defensive backs from 2001-03, offensive line coach Alex Gerke and defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a and running backs coach Ilaisa Tuiaki were graduate assistants at Utah. Strength coach Evan Simon was an assistant strength coach from 2006-08, and director of football operations Steve Mathis was a defensive administrative assistant from 2005-08.

Peel on point

Utah receiver John Peel , who is in his sixth season with the Utes thanks to medical hardship extensions for injuries that cost him three seasons, was more productive in the first half of Thursday's game than he has been in any previous season.

Peel entered the game with just one catch for seven yards for his career.

Through the first half Thursday, Peel had three catches for 52 yards and a touchdown.

lwodraska@sltrib.com