BYU and Utah State University students battle over the Old Wagon Wheel in 1952. (L. Tom Perry Special Collections)

The BYU and Utah State football programs have been competing since 1922 in which BYU holds a 48-37-3 advantage. This year, however, marks the 66th battle for the Old Wagon Wheel, and BYU holds a 40-25 advantage when facing Utah State for this piece of hardware.

The Old Wagon Wheel has been passed back and forth among the two universities since the tradition began in 1948, when Utah State University was still Utah State Agricultural College. Rules were established that the wheel would remain with the winning team for one whole year, or until the next meeting between programs.

In the fall of 1948, chapters of the Blue Key fraternity from each school got together to create a tradition hoping to add to the rivalry. It has — the tradition has endured more than six decades. After the first meeting, the Old Wagon Wheel was so popular that games between the two teams kicked off with a presentation about the history of the wagon wheel. 

For years, students from both BYU and Utah State would sneak into the other campus and steal the wagon wheel. Although that tradition has since been eliminated, the rivalry still continues with this season’s game marking the 89th meeting between the schools.

The wheel itself is believed to be from Jim Bridger’s chuck wagon, the first vehicle to enter Utah Valley. It is a nod to the histories of both schools, of which wagon wheels played a role in not just founding each institution, by also in settling the state of Utah. 

Utah State dominated in the early years of the rivalry, but BYU has consistently won since the 1970’s.

For the past two years, the Old Wagon Wheel has been housed at Utah State, since the Cougars fell to the Aggies 40-24 in 2017. If the Cougars lose in 2019, the wheel will stay in Logan for three years and mark the longest streak for the Aggies in 45 years.

The Aggies will be fired up after coming off a hard loss to Air Force last week 31-7. After two consecutive losses to the rivals up north, The BYU Cougars and fans are eager to win back the Old Wagon Wheel and return to BYU dominance .

BYU will take on the Utah State Aggies Nov. 2 at 8 p.m. on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverick Stadium in Logan, Utah.

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