The Oklahoma Sooners kick off the 2010 season (finally) Saturday evening at Owen Field. Their opponent? The Utah State Aggies, a team that visited Norman three years ago. OU dominated that game 54-3, but the Aggies are not planning on repeating that result come Saturday.
Utah State compiled a 4-8 record in 2009, but their record is not a very good indicator of how they performed throughout the season. The Aggies easily could have been 6-6 if a couple of things had gone their way in several games. The Aggies lost 38-30 at Texas A&M in the second game of the year and gave Nevada all they could handle in a 35-32 loss.
The 4-8 record was the best record in Logan, Utah in seven seasons.
Head coach Gary Andersen is in his second year as the coach of the Aggies and has brought an entirely new attitude to a program that has been dormant for several seasons.
Offensively, the Aggies are going to score points on people this year. They have returning talent at all of the skill positions, but it all starts with their quarterback, Diondre Borel.
Borel, a senior, passed for 2,885 yards and 17 touchdowns in 2009 while only throwing four interceptions. Borel is also a dynamic runner, rushing for almost 500 yards and six touchdowns as well. His total yardage of 3.343 yards on the year set a school record.
The Aggies offense was dealt a huge blow when running back Robert Turbin was lost for the year with an injury. Turbin rushed for 1,296 yards and 13 touchdowns last season on a very impressive 6.3 yards per carry average. Turbin will be replaced by a committee of running backs including senior Michael Smith, who was the team's third leader rusher last season behind Turbin and Borel.
Utah State does not possess one changing receiver like the Sooners' Ryan Broyles. Instead, they have several receivers that fill the role of pass catchers quite nicely. Five receivers had at least 23 catches last season. The group is led by junior Eric Moats, who caught 27 passes a year ago.
The problem for the Aggies last season was their inability to stop anyone. The defense was easily the weak unit of the team, ranking 100th in the country at best in every single major statistical category. Improvement is really the only thing that can happen with this unit.
This year's unit is led by linebacker Bobby Wagner, who led the team with 114 tackles last season. The Aggies also have a pair of seniors at the cornerback position in Rajric Coleman and Chris Randle, so experience and veteran leadership is definitely there.
No opponent is to be taken lightly and that certainly applies here for the Sooners, who are facing a pretty dangerous offense. However, unless the Aggies defense has improved dramatically, Oklahoma will have no problems scoring points on Saturday.
The Sooners should roll and will become the seventh team in college football history to achieve the 800 win plateau.