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Of course we need perspective when the Aggies reach football's postseason: This is as rare as a stylish mullet.

But where to turn?

There's always the 1993 Utah State team, the school's only bowl-game winner. And sure enough, there are some parallels.

For instance, backup quarterback to 1993's Anthony Calvillo, who continues to play and set career records in Canadian pro football, was Matt Wells. Wells was a redshirt-freshman that year and these days is nearing the end of his first year as Utah State's quarterbacks coach.

Talk about perspective.

"Look at some of the players on both teams," Wells said. "You have a marquee defensive player for us in Bobby Wagner who will be up for the WAC Player of the Year award. Compare him to Jermaine Younger. Those are two of the best linebackers in the program's history.

"Talk about running backs," Wells continued. "I like this year's running backs. Profail Grier had a great year for us in '93, but this is probably the best collection of running backs in Utah State history. Look at the per-carry averages of all three of our guys."

Abu Wilson missed 1993 with a knee injury, but came back from it in 1994. Robert Turbin has done that this year to run his career rushing numbers up over 3,000 in just three years. Wilson ran for 3,933 yards in four years, 120 yards short of Demario Brown's career total.

Calvillo spent two years in Charlie Weatherbie's program, coached by NFL all-pro Jim Zorn, but comparing Wells' two protegees to the breadth of Anthony's 18 years in Canada might be a tad unfair.

"He obviously goes down as a great quarterback in this school's history and there were some very, very good ones before him," Wells said. "You have to consider how he took us to our only bowl win and look at what he has done since. The two kids we have now, Adam Kennedy and Chuckie Keeton, are not in that category yet but they have both played very well all year."

Wells calls Coach T.J. Woods' 2011 offensive line a very good blue collar collection.

"They are lunch pail guys that come to work every day, a bunch of tough guys," Wells said. "They get coached that way. They've done an excellent job this year. They have produced this year. With them up front we're sixth in the country in total offense right now.

"Our 1993 O-line had two pro football guys, Rich Tylski and Jed DeVries. Tylski had a long, long NFL career. DeVries played for four or five years in the league. And Warren Bowers was one of the best centers to ever play for the Aggies. It's hard to compare this year's guys to, perhaps, the best offensive line in school history."

The two teams, 1993 and 2011, exhibit different approaches.

At 454 yards a game, this year's offense has slightly better numbers than 18 years ago. Today's running game is 110 yards a game better. Conversely, Calvillo threw for 286 yards a game then, fully 100 yards more a game than this year.

This year's defense has numbers considerably more efficient than those of their 1993 predecessors.

The '93 Aggies scored 321 points and yielded 321 points, 29 points a game, in a 7-5 season. At 36 points a game the Aggies have been among the nation's scoring leaders all season.

There are other comparisons, they are endless. Just remember this, you've heard it before: "Players make plays and players win games" and perhaps this year, for the second time for the Aggies, players win bowl games.


Craig Hislop is a longtime Cache Valley broadcaster, who can now be heard weekday mornings on KVNU. He is among a number of Cache Valley freelance writers whose columns appear in The Herald Journal as a part of an effort to expose readers to a variety of community voices. He is not an employee of the newspaper. He can be reached at

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