On October 3, the newest chapter of the BYU-Utah State rivalry will be written. The Cougars lead all time 44-35-3 with the Cougars winning the last game 32-14 in Logan. This year's match up features getting to see USU QB Chuckie Keeton, who blew out his knee against BYU last season, and BYU wearing their royal blue uniforms for the second season in a row.
The Aggies are coming off another successful season going 9-5 and beating #24 Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl. Most of that was done without star Quarterback Chuckie Keeton. Keeton averaged 271 total yards of offense in his 6 games played. In 2012 he averaged 307 yards of total offense. It will be interesting to see how Chuckie responds after such a severe injury. He was extremely mobile in the pocket and was very effective in the run game. His elusiveness really helped him make multiple big plays against Utah in their first game last season.
Another player to watch is Kyler Fackrell. Fackrell is a 6-5, 245 pound outside linebacker who had 87 tackles and 3 sacks last season, very comparable numbers to Kyle Van Noy. Like KVN, Fackrell is very fast and tackles well in the run game and provides a ton of pressure from the outside against the pass rush. Slowing Fackrell down with the zone read will be critical to the success of the Cougar offense in this particular game.
Another positive the Aggies have for them is that they are returning most of their offensive line. They did lose Kyle Whimpey to graduation, but they return his brother Kevin to anchor a very experienced offensive line. This will help them deal with the hostile situation they will find themselves in Knoxville to open the season. This will also help them against the Cougars who will have a good front seven and run many complex, NFL type blitzes and front looks. An experienced O-Line and QB will go a long way towards the overall success of the Aggies against BYU and for the rest of their season.
The last few games, with the exception of last season, have been close between these two teams. This season should be no different, especially since neither team is playing Utah this year and it will be the premier in-state rivalry game for both teams.