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Utah State Opens 2011 Season At Defending National Champions No. 23 Auburn Aggies Tangle With Tige Add Comment    Aug 29, 2011

QUICKLY -- Utah State (0-0, 0-0 WAC) will kick off the 2011 season at the defending BCS National Champions Auburn (0-0, 0-0 SEC), who is ranked No. 23 in the Preseason AP Poll and No. 19 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Preseason Poll, on Saturday, Sept. 3... Kickoff from Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451) in Auburn, Ala., is slated for 10 a.m. (MT)... Saturday's season-opener and first-ever meeting between the Aggies and Tigers will be aired on ESPN2... Beth Mowins will handle play-by-play duties while former Oregon head coach Mike Belotti will provide analysis.

SATURDAY'S STORYLINES -- Things to watch for in Saturday's match-up between the Aggies and Tigers:

* Saturday is USU's first meeting with Auburn in football.

* USU is opening action on the road for the fourth-straight season and eighth time in last 10 years.

* The Aggies are facing a ranked team in their season opener for the third-straight season.

* Both USU and Auburn will be starting a QB who will be making his first career FBS start... USU and Auburn are two of at least 26 other FBS teams in the country whose quarterback will be making their first FBS start in their season-opener.

* USU will have seven players in action who missed all of part of the 2010 season, including 2009 leading rusher Robert Turbin, who missed all of last season with a knee injury, and 2009 leading receiver Stanley Morrison, who returns after also not playing  in 2010 with a foot injury.

* Saturday is the first of two national TV appearances for USU, as the Aggies' game at BYU on Sept. 30 will be on ESPN.

* Saturday marks not only the first-ever meeting between the two teams, but it is also USU's first trip to the state of Alabama since 2005, when the Aggies played the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama.

* It is the second time in the last three seasons that USU is opening the season on Sept. 3, also opening the Gary Andersen era at USU in 2009.

* USU junior RB Robert Turbin needs:

 -- 22 rushing yards to reach crack the top 10 of USU's Career Rushing list.

 -- One rushing TD to take over sole possession of No. 6 on USU's Career Rushing TD list, as he currently is tied with Louie Giammona (1973-75) with 21.

* Aggie senior LB Bobby Wagner needs:

 -- One tackle to reach 300 for his career, becoming 14th USU player to reach milestone.

 -- 28 tackles to crack USU's top 10 career tackles list.


ON TV -- Saturday's season-opener and first-ever meeting between the Aggies and Tigers will be aired on ESPN2 (Comcast in Cache Valley Ch. 36/669 HD, DirectTV Ch. 209 and Dish Network Ch. 142)... Beth Mowins will handle play-by-play duties while former Oregon head coach Mike Belotti will provide analysis.

ON THE AIR -- All Utah State football games are carried live on KVNU 610 AM, KVNU 102.1 FM (Cache Valley) and KLZX 95.9 FM in Logan; KZNS (97.5 FM and 1280 AM) in Salt Lake City; on KLZX 105.3 FM in Montpelier, Idaho... All Aggie football games are also on the Internet at www.UtahStateAggies.com by clicking on "Listen Live"... Legendary radio voice Al Lewis will handle the play-by-play duties, while former Aggie SID Craig Hislop provides analysis.

ON THE INTERNET -- USU home football games are also streamed on the Internet through "Aggies All Access," by clicking on the "Live Aggies Video" link on the home page of www.UtahStateAggies.com... Fans can register and purchase single-game or season packages to watch... Saturday's season-opener at Auburn is also available through ESPN3.

GAMETRACKER -- Fans can follow all USU Aggie home games through the USU web site at www.UtahStateAggies.com via GameTracker, a free service, which updates play-by-play and statistics throughout the game... Saturday's season-opener at Auburn is also available through GameTracker.

COACHES SHOW ON THE ROAD -- The Gary Andersen radio show will rotate between The Copper Mill and Elements Restaurant on Thursday nights (6:05-7 p.m. on 610 AM KVNU) when the Aggies play on Saturday, with some exceptions, including this week when it is on Tuesday, Aug. 30 at The Copper Mill... The show gives USU fans an opportunity to ask questions and interact with Coach Andersen and players.

Upcoming Coaches Shows: Sept. 8 at Elements / Sept. 22 at Copper Mill 

UP NEXT -- Utah State hosts Weber State in the Aggies' 2011 season-opener on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. at Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium... It marks the first time that USU and WSU have squared off since 2001, and Utah State leads the all-time series, 11-1... The Aggie-Wildcat match-up will have special meaning for USU head coach Gary Andersen, who will be facing his mentor, Weber State head coach Ron McBride... Andersen played for McBride at Utah in 1985-86.


RETURNING FROM INJURY -- Seven players return to action after missing most or all of the 2010 season with injury: junior WR Matt Austin, senior TE Kellen Bartlett, senior OL Robert Hill, senior WR Stanley Morrison, junior CB Jamaine Olson, senior RB Michael Smith, junior RB Robert Turbin and senior LB Reuben Willis.

SIGNAL CALLER SEARCH -- USU will be looking for a starting quarterback, replacing four-year letterwinner and three-year starter Diondre Borel... Junior college transfer Adam Kennedy and true freshman Chuckie Keeton will not only be making their first career FBS appearance but also first career FBS start when one of them takes the opening snap Saturday.

REPLACING 3/4ths OF STARTING DEFENSIVE BACKFIELD -- The Aggies will also be looking for replacements in their defensive backfield, as starters four-year lettermen CBs Curtis Marsh and Chris Randle and two-year letterman S Rajric Coleman graduated... USU will look toward seniors Alfred Bowden and Walter McClenton, juniors McKade Brady and Quinton Byrd, as well as sophomores Nevin Lawson and Cameron Sanders to replace them.

RUNNING MEN -- While the Aggies lost leading rusher and two of their top three rushers to graduation, (RB Derrvin Speight, 779 yards, 8TDs/ QB Diondre Borel 298 yards, 7 TDs), they get 2009 leading rusher RB Robert Turbin (2009-1,296 yards, 13TDs) and RB Michael Smith (2009-290 yards, 4 TDs; 2010-153 yards, 2TDs) back from injury... Turbin missed all of the 2010 season with an injury while Smith missed nine games also with injury... Turbin was a second-team all-WAC honoree in 2009... Also in the mix are juniors Kerwynn Williams (451 yards, 4 TDs) and Joey DeMartino (157 yards, 1 TD) along with sophomore Robert Marshall (146 yards, 1 TD).

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