BYU, Utah State football: Matchups between Y., USU interesting
“He’s the best running back we’ve faced so far,” said sophomore linebacker Spencer Hadley. “He runs hard and he just does everything well. He’ll be a huge challenge for us, but a challenge I think we’ll be up for.”
It’s not just Turbin, however, as the Aggies will feature two other running backs in senior Michael Smith, 5-9, 205, and junior Kerwynn Williams 5-9, 184. Both average around 60 yards per game on a 9- and 8-yards-per-carry average, respectively.
“They have some guys that can make some big plays,” said Hadley. “We’ll have to cut down on that and improve on that from what we gave up last week.”
It’s not just the Aggies' three-headed attack from the running back position that they’ll have to watch out for. Utah State features a running quarterback in Chuckie Keeton, 6-2, 185, who can cause an opposing defense a world of problems.
Keeton rushes for an average of 42 yards per game on a 4-yards-per-carry average.
“We saw a good running quarterback last week and it’s the same thing this week,” said Hadley. “We’ll have to contain him and not let him get to the edge.”
The key to stopping the Aggie offense will be in stopping the run. This is usually the key for stopping any offense, but it’s amplified against an offense and an inexperienced quarterback such as Keeton.
In none of their games has the opponent forced Keeton and Utah State’s offense to become a one-dimensional, drop-back offense. If BYU can manage that, they should see a lot of success.
Look for BYU to put two halves of productive run defense together. They should be able to manage Turbin with his north-and-south style, but it’s Williams who could cause the most problems for them with his big play ability on the edges.
BYU pass defense vs. Utah State
The Cougars have had some problems in defending the pass game here of late. Several mistakes in coverage led to some big plays made by Central Florida last week in keeping the game close.
“We have to do a better job at making sure that nothing goes over our heads,” said Hadley. “We have to cut down on big plays and make sure we know where we’re supposed to be (in coverage).”
The Aggies haven’t had to throw much, with Keeton attempting just 60 pass attempts through three games this season. He has been efficient with his attempts in completing 40 of those 60 passes for 465 yards and two touchdowns.
His two main targets are Matt Austin, 6-2, 198, and Chuck Jacobs, 6-0, 174. Austin has 10 receptions on the year for 151 yards and a touchdown, while Jacobs has hauled in nine catches for 76 yards and the other Aggie touchdown through the air.
“The key will be to make them throw it more than they have,” said Hadley. “He hasn’t had to drop back much and that’s our goal. It all starts in defending their run game and hopefully we can do that.”
Look for BYU to correct a lot of their gaffes in coverage made a week ago. Utah State will be looking to use play-action, and it’s up to the Cougar pass defense to make that play-action ineffective.
The key to stopping Utah State and a big key in winning the game will be to force the Aggies to become a passing offense. Should BYU hold the Utah State ground game in check, it’s very questionable if Keeton and the Aggie passing attack has the goods to beat them.
Prediction: BYU 27 Utah State 17
Look for BYU to find a lot more success on offense than they have so far this season. In being around practice this week, it’s easy to note that this team still has a huge chip on its shoulder, particularly the offense.
They figured out some stuff last week to help in their overall production and look for that to continue.
Utah State is much improved under head coach Gary Anderson, and look for them to give BYU all they can handle. This game should remain close throughout with BYU pulling away at the end.
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