Utah State vs. BYU: Complete Game Preview
Rewind a year ago, and we were watching as Jake Heaps made mistake after mistake against a decent Utah State football team. After a few quarters of play, Riley Nelson was inserted to the game to make a difference.
And make a difference he did. Nelson led BYU to a 27-24 win, capped off by an absurd, tipped touchdown pass to Marcus Mathews to win the game.
Now come back to the present, and the Cougars face a similar situation. After a rocky start, there's a quarterback quandary and Utah State is coming to town the day before General Conference. Only this time, USU is a much stronger team and, despite being a seven-point underdog, they could pull off the upset.
So, here's a complete preview and prediction.
Who: Utah State at BYU
When: Friday, 8:15 PM (MDT)
Where: Provo, UT
Stadium: LaVell Edwards Stadium (63,470)
Radio: KSL Radio 1160 AM, 102.7 FM and ksl.com
Internet stream: www.espn.go.com/watchespn/
All-time Series Record: BYU leads, 44–34–3
Depth Chart for BYU
Offense (Starters in bold)
QB: Taysom Hill, Riley Nelson/ James Lark
RB: David Foote, Iona Pritchard, Jamaal Williams (starter unknown with Michael Alisa injury)
WR: Cody Hoffman, Ross Apo, JD Falslev; Skyler Ridley, Dallin Cutler, David Foote
TE: Kaneakua Friel, Austin Holt
LT: Ryker Mathews, Michael Yeck
LG: Famika Anae
C: Braden Hansen, Blair Tushaus
RG: Manaaki Vaitai, Brock Stringham
RT: Braden Brown, Manaaki Vaitai
K: Justin Sorensen
P: Riley Stephenson
LS: Reed Hornung
H: JD Falslev
LE: Ezekiel Ansah, Mike Muehlmann
DT: Romney Fuga, Simote Vea
RE: Russell Tialavea, Ezekiel Ansah
LB: Spencer Hadley, Alani Fua
MLB: Uona Kaveinga, Zac Stout
LB: Brandon Ogletree, Manoa Pikula
OLB: Kyle Van Noy, Jherremya Leuta-Douyere
CB: Jordan Johnson, Micah Hannemann, Robbie Buckner
CB: Preston Hadley, Skye PoVey
SS: Daniel Sorensen, Craig Bills
FS: Joe Sampson, Mike Hague
PR: JD Falslev
KR: Cody Hoffman, Mike Hague
Depth Chart for Utah State
Offense (Starters in bold)
QB: Chuckie Keeton, Adam Kennedy
RB: Kerwynn Williams, Joe Hill
WR: Matt Austin, Brandon Swindall
WR: Chuck Jacobs, Cameron Webb
WR: Travis Reynolds, Travis Van Leeuwen
TE: D.J. Tialavea, Brad Theurer
TE: Kellen Bartlett, Keegan Andeen
LT: Kevin Whimpey, Logan Molohifo'ou
LG: Jamie Markosian, Bryce Walker
C: Tyler Larsen, Taani Fisilau
RG: Eric Schultz, Kyle Whimpey
RT: Oscar Molina-Sanchez, Jorden Mattinson
DE: Al Lapuaho, Jordan Nielsen
NG: Travis Seefeldt, Havea Lasike
DE: Connor Williams, B.J. Larsen
OLB: Bojay Filimoeatu, Jefferson Court
ILB: Jake Doughty, Zach Vigil
ILB: Tavaris McMillian, Parker Hausknecht
OLB: Terrell Thompson, Kyler Fackrell
CB: Jumanne Robertson, Ladale Jackson
SS: Brian Suite, Frankie Sutera
FS: McKade Brady, Cameron Sande
CB: Nevin Lawson, Rashard Stewart
NICK: Terrence Alston, Quinton Byrd
DIME: Will Davis, Jamaine Olson
PK: Nick Diaz
KR: Kerwynn Williams
PR: Chuck Jacobs
Recap of the Cougars' Last Game
BYU finally found the wheels that fell off of the offense a few weeks ago when Hawaii came to town, as the Cougs were able to score seven touchdowns on a less-than-great Warrior defense.
Taysom Hill became the first freshman BYU quarterback to win in his first career start, and he didn't do so quietly. He threw for 112 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 143 yards, including a 68-yard scramble for a touchdown early on.
Running back Jamaal Williams was another freshman to have a great night, as he finished with 155 yards and two rushing touchdowns.
The BYU defense had their first shutout since a 2009 game against Wyoming, and they moved up to fifth in the nation in overall defense.
Recap of the Aggies' Last Game
Chuckie Keeton had a career night against UNLV last week, as he was the first Aggie quarterback to throw for over 400 yards in a game since 2002. He completed 20 of 33 passes and led USU to their first 4-1 start since 1978.
Running back Kerwynn Williams also had a great day, with 260 total yards. The defense held the Rebels to only 13 points, which is the lowest all season against an FBS team.
What This Game Means to Both Teams
Both Utah State and BYU are trying to prove that they are the best team in the state. Also, a win for either will mean either a national ranking or some votes in a poll.
The Cougars will try to show that they are superior to USU, and that the so-called "rivalry" is not one. The Aggies are trying to make a splash on the national stage, and this could be their last chance, as the rest of their schedule should be a cakewalk.
Key Player for BYU
After a tremendous performance against Hawaii, Jammal Williams will need to have another stellar game for the Cougs on Friday. If Michael Alisa doesn't play because of an arm injury, the rushing attack will need to be carried by Williams.
We all know that the defense will be fine; after all, the offense has been the weak point of the team thus far in the season. If Jamaal Williams can give them that spark to get the offense going, it could be all that they need for a good game.
Key Player for USU
Chuckie Keeton is, perhaps, the best quarterback in the state of Utah right now. At this point in the season, he has completed 105 of 154 passes for over 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Heck, that's eight less than Riley Nelson had all of last season.
With a strong rushing attack led by Kerwynn Williams, the offensive attack for USU is not one-sided, but Keeton is the definite leader of the squad and needs to play well. It will be fun to watch how he fares against BYU's fifth-ranked defense.
It will be a close game, no doubt about it. But I think the Cougar D will prove strong, and BYU will slip away with this one.
My Prediction: BYU wins, 23-17