Utah State wide receiver Derek Wright is congratulated by coach Blake Anderson after scoring a touchdown against New Mexico during the first half of an NCAA college football game on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
LOGAN, Utah – Utah State first-year head coach Blake Anderson garnered more national attention on Tuesday as he is one of 13 finalists for the 2021 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award, it was announced by the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA).
Anderson was also named the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) Region 5 Coach of the Year on Monday.
Other finalists for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award include: Dave Aranda (Baylor), Luke Fickell (Cincinnati), Thomas Hammock (Northern Illinois), Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Billy Napier (Louisiana), Pat Narduzzi (Pittsburgh), Nick Saban (Alabama), Kalani Sitake (BYU), Kirby Smart (Georgia), Jeff Traylor (UTSA), Mel Tucker (Michigan State) and Kyle Whittingham (Utah).
The 2021 recipient of the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award will be announced on Monday, Dec. 20. The official presentation will be at a reception on Saturday, Jan. 8, in Indianapolis prior to the College Football Playoff National Championship.
After posting a 1-5 record in a COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, Utah State had one of the best turnarounds in the nation in 2021 under Anderson as it won its first-ever Mountain West Championship and recorded 10 wins for just the fourth time in school history after being picked to finish fifth in the Mountain Division of the conference in the preseason polls.
Utah State’s nine-game improvement this year is tied with Baylor (2-7 in ’20 to 11-2 in ’21) and Northern Illinois (0-6 in ’20 to 9-4 in ’21), and trailing Michigan (2-4 in ’20 to 12-1 in ’21) for the second-best turnaround in the nation.
Utah State is also the first Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team to post a 7-0 road record since the 2013 season.
Furthermore, Anderson is the only first-year head coach – out of 19 at the FBS level – to win 10 games this season.
Utah State (10-3, 6-2 MW) will face Oregon State (7-5, 5-4 Pac-12) in the inaugural Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 18, at 5:30 p.m. (MT), at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. The game will be televised live on ABC.
For more information on the Utah State football program, follow the Aggies on Twitter at @USUFootball, on Facebook at USUFootball and on Instagram at USUFootball.