My throat is sore, my voice is gone and I’m pretty sure I’ve been hallucinating.
I’m not a doctor, but I’m positive the diagnosis for my ailments is caused by Utah State football.
When the Aggies took the field against Boise State on Friday night on national television, I did not expect the eventual 52-26 beatdown in a game that wasn’t as close as the score suggested.
Utah State went three-and-out on the first drive of the game and the Broncos actually led early. When the 46-yard field goal went through the uprights to make it 3-0 after the first Boise State drive, I felt that familiar dread in my gut.
I’ve never seen Utah State beat Boise. Or at least, if I was at the game last time it happened, I don’t remember the 24-20 home win because I was 6 years old and had more important things to worry about, like where my hot chocolate was or why my dad wasn’t paying attention to me.
More recently, I’ve dreaded the games against Boise State. For example, last year’s matchup was the near opposite of this year’s score when the Broncos won 50-19 on the blue turf — and that score is almost exactly the average between the two long-time conference foes since the calendar year started with a 20.
Honestly, I would have been happy if the Aggies had just kept the game close.
But when the Aggies held Boise to two yards on the second drive of the game, scored on a 71-yard touchdown drive and recovered a fumble three plays after that, I started getting excited.
My family started speculating if the Broncos can actually be beaten. We all figured if the Aggies were going to win this game, it would have to be the same way Air Force handed Boise its worst loss (28-14, and Boise only scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter) since joining the Mountain West by forcing seven turnovers last year.
We didn’t know how correct we were.
This is how the first 13 Boise State drives ended: Field goal, punt, fumble, fumble, interception, interception, touchdown, fumble, fumble, interception, fumble, punt, punt. Three of those turnovers came during the final 1:25 of the first half — including the 90-yard interception returned for a touchdown by Marwin Evans as time expired — to help USU turn a two-touchdown lead into a 45-10 halftime score.
Count them up and you have eight turnovers as well as the 35 points they led to.
By this point, my voice was pretty well gone.
But this game wasn’t just about crushing a foe that had for so many years been the pride and joy of the conference — whether it be the Big West, Western Athletic or Mountain West that each pitted Boise State against my alma mater in dominating fashion — it made Aggie fans hope again.
I don’t know if Utah State can run the table for the rest of the conference schedule, beat BYU in the last game before winning the conference championship matchup against whatever team decided to start actually playing football in the other division, and get lucky by seeing higher-ranked midmajor teams lose, but Friday’s long-time-hoped-for win over Boise has Utah State fans wondering if they’ll be watching their team play on New Year’s.
I just hope my throat, voice and hallucinations have enough time to heal by then.
Tavin Stucki is a journalism graduate from Utah State University who was also present at then-Romney Stadium when the Aggies broke a 12-game losing streak to Utah in 2012, and beat BYU for the second time in 27 years in 2010 — Utah State’s two biggest rivals. Send any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.