Utah State quarterback Cooper Legas (5) is hoisted on the shoulders of his teammates after they won the LA Bowl 24-13 over Oregon State in Inglewood, Calif., Saturday, Dec. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
LOGAN, Utah – For just the fifth time in school history, Utah State football ended a season nationally ranked as it is listed 24th in the final Associated Press (AP) poll that was released Tuesday. It is the third time in the last 10 years that USU has been nationally ranked at season’s end.
Utah State’s final top-25 ranking marks the first time all season that it was listed among the top-25 teams in the nation as the Aggies garnered votes in the national polls three separate times during the regular season. In fact, this is just the fifth USU team in school history to be ranked in the AP poll at any point during the season (1960, 1961, 2012, 2018, 2021).
The last time Utah State ended a season nationally ranked was 2018, when that team finished the year 21st in the Coaches poll and 22nd in the AP poll as it went 11-2 and tied the school record for wins. The 2012 team finished the year 16th in the AP poll, 17th in the Coaches poll and 23rd in the final BCS standings as it went 11-2 and set the school record for wins. The 1972 team finished with an 8-3 record and was 19th in the final United Press International (UPI) poll. And, the 1961 team posted a 9-1-1 record and was 10th in both the final AP and UPI polls.
Utah State (11-3, 6-2 Mountain West) had its best season in school history under first-year head coach Blake Anderson, which culminated in a 24-13 win against Oregon State in the inaugural Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl. USU also won its 13th conference championship in school history, including its first Mountain West title, with its 46-13 win at No. 19 San Diego State, for its first victory against a ranked opponent in six seasons. And, USU tied the school record for wins with 11, which included a pair of Power 5 victories for the first time in school history with its season-opening 26-23 win at Washington State and its LA Bowl win against Oregon State.
Coming off a 1-5 season in 2020, Utah State’s 10-game improvement this year is tied with Baylor (2-7 in ‘20 to 12-2 in ‘21) and Michigan (2-4 in ‘20 to 12-2 in ‘21) for the best turnaround in the nation. USU is also the first Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team ever to go from zero or one win to 11 or more wins in one season.
Furthermore, Utah State went 7-0 on the road and 8-0 away from home for the first time in school history and USU is the first FBS team in eight years to post a 7-0 road record.
Nationally, Utah State is one of just 18 teams to finish the 2021 season with 11 or more wins, joining Georgia (14), Alabama (13), Cincinnati (13), Louisiana (13), Baylor (12), Houston (12), Michigan (12), Oklahoma State (12), San Diego State (12), UTSA (12), Coastal Carolina (11), Michigan State (11), Notre Dame (11), Oklahoma (11), Ohio State (11), Pittsburgh (11), Wake Forest (11) and Utah State (11).
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on Facebook at Utah State Football, as well as on Instagram at instagram.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on Facebook at Utah State University Athletics.