With an impressive win the Cougars (3-2) set themselves up with good momentum heading into the next half of the season. Meanwhile the Aggies (3-3) are left licking their wounds and wondering what will become of the rest of their season, especially with start quarterback Chuckie Keeton likely out for the rest of the season.
Hence Friday’s game was a showdown where either team could pull away at the end. Unfortunately for the Aggies the end was closer to the beginning.
When BYU’s All-American linebacker Kyle Van Noy intercepted Keeton on the first play of the game and easily walked it into the endzone it was simply an omen for things to come. Taysom Hill and the Cougar offense rallied against a good Aggie defense racking up 438 yards of offense. Hill set new career highs of 278 yards through the air and 3 touchdowns. Not to mention, wide receiver Mitch Matthews emerged with all three of those touchdowns. All in all, BYU’s offense is finally moving up.
This was surely a statement win for BYU. Wins like this against this type of competition were expected at the start of the season. The Texas win was a surprise, the MTSU game was a given, but this win is what the Cougar faithful have been waiting for.
If BYU maintains its upward movement and future opponents like Notre Dame and Wisconsin remain on their own downward spiral, then there’s reason to be optimistic that BYU can finish out the season undefeated. If that happens, it would have all started with this victory over the Aggies.
The biggest blow to their team’s talent and their team’s mindset is Chuckie Keeton’s injury. He was the heart and soul of this team. He has been the name and face of USU’s incredible turnaround the past two seasons. For this season, however, he is no more.
While the Aggie defense is good we all know that you can’t win if you don’t score. Depending on how Craig Harrison takes the reins as quarterback, then Aggie fans may be able to remain hopeful.
Harrison showed he was an accurate, but raddled passer--most likely due to first game jitters. Now he has the opportunity to gain experience and, assuming the defense does its job, put enough points on the board to lift the Aggies over most opponents.
Utah State’s undefeated conference record is another reason for Aggie fans to remain hopeful. Utah State hosts a troubled Boise State team this Saturday. If they pull out a win, then they will be set to take the Mountain West.
If Harrison fails to step up, then a very promising season for Utah State will have turned into a loathsome one.
This game entailed a lot for both BYU and USU. BYU is now set to take on the rest of their schedule while USU is hoping that this detour becomes a very minor one.
By Tanner Spear
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