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Logan • By early Sunday morning, either Utah State or Fresno State will feel better about what's been a frustrating football season.
The Aggies and Bulldogs play Saturday night at Maverik Stadium, with both trying to snap losing streaks and keep the carrot of a possible low-level bowl bid dangling in front of them.
After three straight losses the first time that's happened since 2010 the Aggies are 2-4 overall and 0-3 in the Mountain West Conference. They haven't won since Sept. 16.
The Bulldogs have lost five straight games. They are 1-6 overall, 0-3 in league play and have not won since a 31-3 victory over Sacramento State on Sept. 10.
"They're like us," Fresno coach Tim DeRuyter said. "Their backs are against the wall as well. … They're playing decent but not finding a way to win. I see a lot of parallels between our team and their team."
Utah State comes off a bye, which has given coach Matt Wells a chance to "self-scout" the Aggies and, perhaps, figure out why they have been unable to win close conference games.
"To me, this week is about Fresno State," he said. "But it's also about us hopefully putting it together in all three phases of the game and finding a way for us to get our first win in the league."
In its latest attempt, Utah State built a 24-10 halftime lead at Colorado State. The Aggies were shut out in the second half, however, and the Rams rallied for a 31-24 victory.
DeRuyter knows the feeling.
Last week, Fresno played one of its best games. But the Bulldogs couldn't muster much offense against West Division-leading San Diego State and lost, 17-3.
"When you struggle, it's hard to get over the top," DeRuyter said. "Three of the last four weeks we've had a chance to win a football game but didn't make a play. … We've got to get out confidence back."
Asked about the Aggies, DeRuyter mentioned junior quarterback Kent Myers.
"Their QB is very, very athletic … [and] they have good receivers," he said. "On defense, they are a little younger than Utah State has been. But they are very, very physical on both sides of the ball."
Against Colorado State, Utah State was also inconsistent on offense and defense.
Led by Myers, the Aggies produced 456 yards of offense. But they went 7 for 16 on third down and struggled on CSU's side of the field. This season, Utah State ranks ninth in the Mountain West in red zone efficiency.
"We've played good on offense," Wells said, "but not been good enough to be the difference in winning games."
Myers ranks second in the conference in passing yards (216.2) and total offense (250.5). But he is seventh in passing efficiency.
"In terms of analyzing Kent's game," Wells said, "he's been very stingy with the ball and he's made good decisions. We can improve our deep-ball throwing. We've worked on that a little bit and, hopefully, we can throw and catch them a little bit better. But that's not just him."
Utah State is hopeful that two of its best players, running back Devante Mays and safety Dallin Leavitt, will return from injuries against Fresno. Neither has played for a month.
Mays hurt his knee against USC on Sept. 10 and was re-injured after one play against Air Force on Sept. 24. Leavitt also injured his ankle in the 27-20 loss to the Falcons.
Utah State vs. Fresno State
P At Maverik Stadium, Logan
Kickoff • 8:30 p.m.
TV • CBS Sports Network
Radio • 610 AM, 1280 AM, 102.1 FM
Records • Utah State 2-4, 0-3; Fresno State 1-6, 0-3
Series history • Fresno State leads 17-11-1
Last meeting • Utah State, 56-14 (2015)
About the Aggies • They did not play last week. … Under coach Matt Wells, they are 4-0 after a bye. … They have lost three straight games by a combined 25 points (Air Force, Boise State, Colorado State). … They have not lost four straight since 2008. … They are 25-4 in their last 29 home games. … Opponents have scored on 23 of 24 trips into the red zone. … They are last in the Mountain West Conference in net punting (30.7).
About the Bulldogs • They come off a 17-3 loss to San Diego State. … They have dropped five straight games. … The school record for consecutive defeats is seven, which happened in 1929. … Opponents average 33.6 points and 439 yards of total offense. … They have not played in Logan since a 41-24 victory in 2010. … In his fifth season at Fresno, coach Tim DeRuyter's record is 30-29.