The latest installment of the BYU vs Utah State rivalry has been completed, with the Cougars coming away with a 31-14 victory. Some of the major story lines of the game include Taysom Hill turning in his best passing performance of his career, key turnovers early in the game, and most notably, the injury of Chuckie Keeton.
Game review by quarter:
Chuckie Keeton opened up the first drive of the game with an uncharacteristic interception which was returned for a touchdown by Kyle Van Noy, giving BYU an early lead of 7-0. On BYU's first drive of the game, Taysom Hill fumbled the ball on a QB scramble, giving Utah State the ball in the red zone. This set the Aggies up with a score of their own, tying the game 7-7. BYU was able to drive into field goal range, where Sorenson gave BYU the 10-7 lead on a 27 yard field goal that would be the final score of the first quarter.
The biggest story of the first quarter, not to mention the entire game, came when Chuckie Keeton went down with a knee injury with four minutes to go in the quarter; an injury which would keep him out of the reminder of the game. Keeton's back up, Craig Harrison, was never able to get in a groove, going just 18-41 for 184 yards and a late touchdown pass.
Taysom Hill was able to throw his first touchdown pass in almost 5 weeks in the second quarter, when he connected with Mitch Matthews on a 30 yard strike, giving the Cougars a 17-7 lead with 10 minutes remaining in the quarter. Utah State's defense was able to shut down BYU's offense for the remainder of the half, keeping them scoreless. Craig Harrison and the Aggie offense weren't able to effectively move the ball against Kyle Van Noy and the Cougar defense, as the half concluded with BYU leading 17-7.
BYU received the kick-off, and put together an 80 yard drive which was finished off when Hill connected with Matthews for a touchdown pass the second time, this time for a 6 yards. Another touchdown ensued six minutes later, when Hill hit Matthews for a touchdown once again, this time on a 43 yard pass. Utah State was unable to move the ball, logging only 71 yards in the third quarter.
WIth the game all but decided, the Aggies were the only team to score in the 4th quarter, putting together an 88 yard drive which was capped by an 8 yard touchdown pass from Harrison to Butler.
Unfortunately, the Chuckie Keeton injury tainted this highly anticipated match-up. Everyone on both sides was looking forward to seeing these two teams perform at their highest level, in what was sure to be a close and exciting game. But missing their star player for most of the game, the Aggies offense never had a chance against BYU's staunch defense. But unfortunately, injuries are often the nature of football.
BYU played a great game, and Taysom Hill showed improvement in his passing game for the second week in a row, going 17-31 (54%) with three touchdown passes. The Cougar defense gave another impressive show, though again, many people wanted to see how this defense would hold up against Chuckie Keeton. Nevertheless, BYU's defense held the Aggies to two touchdowns, one of which came on a short field caused by the first of Taysom Hill's two turnovers.
Hill, Matthews, and Jamaal Williams all logged impressive performances offensively. Hill went 17-31 with 278 yards, three touchdown passes, and two turnovers. Van Noy was his usual self defensively, and his performance was highlighted by his pick six at the beginning of the game, a play which gave the Cougars the momentum from the very beginning.
Up next for the Cougars is their homecoming game against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets next Saturday at 5 PM MDT.