"We didn't expect to lose to them," said defensive lineman Tenny Palepoi. "When they came out and punched us in the mouth, it kind of caught us off guard. But, we're ready this year."
"I feel like we owe those guys," added defensive end Trevor Reilly. "We want to make it right. They're coming to our place now, and hopefully we can play better."
After rallying from a 13-0 deficit, the Utes could not overcome all of their mistakes, and ended up losing in overtime 27-20. It was Utah State's first victory over Utah since 1997, ending a 12-game losing streak. That game seemed to send both teams in opposite directions. The Aggies went on to win 11 games and finished ranked in the top-20, while the Utes went 5-7 and ended up missing a bowl game for the first time since 2004.
"If we would have won that game, we would have made a bowl game," said Reilly. "I also think it may have accounted for one or two more losses."
"It was definitely a really disappointing loss," said quarterback Travis Wilson. "We just have to make sure we start fast and not come out sluggish."
The victory also helped Utah State achieve the distinction of being the best team in the state last year, and that's something the Utes are having trouble dealing with.
"It seems like it was probably true," Reilly said. "But it's a sucky reality. Hopefully we can be dubbed the best team in Utah this year."
As for the Aggies, they aren't dwelling on last year's historic victory. They know the Utes will be out for revenge.
“They're an extremely talented team," said new head coach Matt Wells. "I see a big improvement on offense. "From the time I can remember going against Utah, the first thing you think about is their defense. I have a lot of respect for them and they've continued that tradition."
Quarterback Chuckie Keeton will be making his third season-opening start, so don't expect him to be rattled by the hostile crowd at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
“I really try not to think about the past too much, but it’s definitely going to be a little bit hostile," Keeton said. "I know that for a fact because we came out with the win last year, but it’s still a normal game. No matter where you’re going there is always going to be a hostile crowd. Some are just a little bit more hostile than others. That’s kind of what I’m expecting out of this game. We’re prepared for it and it’s college football, you can’t really expect anything normal, but one of the normal things is to have a crazy crowd when you’re playing away.”
It should be a fantastic 111th edition of the Battle of the Brothers.