Logan • After three months 10 games, eight wins and a historic breakout as a program Utah State will finally be able to catch its collective breath with a bye week.
The Aggies will get it at the right time. If USU has any advantage in its matchup at Louisiana Tech in a little under two weeks, it will be the ability to focus on the Bulldogs for 13 consecutive days.
In doing so, Utah State will need all the preparation it can muster. Louisiana Tech is nationally ranked, once-beaten and boasts one of the finest offenses in the country. The Bulldogs figure to be the best team the Aggies have faced this season.
"Not many teams have gone 10 weeks without a bye," USU coach Gary Andersen said. "We need it, too. We have a lot of guys who are physically and mentally tired. We have a lot of guys who need to heal up a little bit. So we're going to take advantage of the time we have and use it wisely."
Utah State is the last of the state's three FBS schools to take a week off. Still, the Aggies will be about business. They will practice for the first three days of the week as usual. The coaches will do a little extra recruiting and then the players will take a long weekend without football.
With the Bulldogs looming, the matchup figures to be one of the biggest for Utah State in school history. The Aggies have won eight games for the first time since 1974. They are close to being nationally ranked, and within reach of the school's first 10-win season.
For USU, those accolades are still a long way off. There are still two games in the regular season and a bowl opportunity in December. At the very least, though, progress is being made. The Aggies won seven games in 2011, and have eclipsed that rather easily.
Last season, USU became bowl-eligible almost at the last minute. This time around, the Aggies did it in the middle of their schedule.
"It feels good to see what we've achieved to this point of the season," senior running back Kerwynn Williams said. "We've all worked very hard in the offseason to get to this point. We've all had each others' backs and we've played for each other all season. This is a time for us to work, but we get some time to ourselves as well. That's a good thing.
firstname.lastname@example.org twitter: @tjonessltrib Utah State at No. 19 Louisiana Tech
P Nov. 17, 5 p.m. MST