A quarterback is injured! That seems to happen every time these teams play. The only in state team that doesn’t refuse to play the Cougars every year invites BYU up to Logan to battle. This ‘rivalry’ is the last game of the year.
BYU and Utah State have a long storied tradition of head to head play with BYU leading the all time series 46-35. Utah State is still a program on the rise and I like watching them succeed when they don’t play the Cougars. That is why I don’t consider this much of a rivalry. I’m still ashamed of the Cougars fans that rushed the field in Provo a couple years ago, but hey Riley Nelson.
Last year’s Utah State game ripped all BYU fans hearts out. For once it looked like everything was going to go BYU’s way. Then the other shoe dropped, the 18th ranked cougars lost the star quarterback and the game. It started a four game spiral of disbelief.
Last year Utah State finished the year with a 10-4 season and had quarterback problems as well. They finished the year beating UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl 21-6. Coach Matt Wells has proven that he was the right choice to replace Gary Andersen and continues to be a great coach.
THEY SURVIVED! That has been the narrative of the last two years for the Aggies. Before two knee injuries Chuckie Keeton was one of my favorite NCAA football players to watch. Hopefully for the Aggies he can return to form. He’s the difference between 2nd or 3rd in the Mountain West and a Mountain West Title and top 25 ranking. Hopefully Chuckie will rebound and still be the starter in late November when the Cougars take on the Aggies.
One thing that Utah State has been really good at is preparing all backup quarterbacks just in case. Even if Chuckie goes down again they will find success, but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that again.
Backs and receivers
Last year running backs LaJuan Hunt and Joe Hill split the majority of the carries. Joe Hill is gone and LaJuan Hunt is coming back for his sophomore season.
Even with losing JoJo Natson the Aggies return other weapons. They still have Hunter Sharp and bring back Brian Swindall from injury. They always seem stocked with weapons for whoever starts at quarterback and is part of the reason they survived last year.
Defense is where Utah State shines. Few defenses were able to showcase aggressive play and stop big plays like the Aggies last year. They pass rushed and run stopped without giving up quick over the top big plays. The big reason for this is the linebackers at Utah St. Nick Vigil returns while Zach Vigil left and is having success thus far in the NFL preseason. Kyler Fackrell returns from injury to make the linebackers even better this year. The Aggies are poised to have another great year on the defensive side of the ball.
Too Early Prediction
Let’s face it last years was not pretty. USU looked more then ready for the Cougars, but I thought right before Taysom went down I thought that Taysom would lead the Cougars back. I think the second half of that game BYU was in shock and was completely deflated.
The key match-up here is BYUs offense vs the USU defense. Will USU’s linebackers be able to chase Taysom Hill around for a full game? Will Taysom be able to be himself and make explosive plays? I feel like Taysom Hill gets his revenge in this game. Taysom has this one circled and wants to show everyone that he will play the whole season and end it with a great game against the Aggies. This preview is way too early and things will definitely change between now and then, but BYU wins a close one 35-31. GO COUGARS