Tom Smart, Deseret News
There have been many memorable college football games over the years in Utah, filled with miraculous comebacks, trick plays and upsets. However, when the clock strikes zero, many fans quickly turn their attention to the next game on the schedule.
After the Cougars smacked Middle Tennessee 37-10 Friday night, attention and focus started right away on this week’s big game between in-state rivals Utah State and BYU. When looking at the in-state school’s upcoming games, it’s hard not to look at the stats that each team has produced thus far into the season and start comparing the teams to one another.
Looking over Taysom Hill’s stats we see that he has thrown for 741 yards and one touchdown, while completing just 40.6 percent of his passes. While those aren't the stats that Cougar fans are used to, Hill has certainly made up the difference with his feet, rushing for more than 565 yards and six touchdowns on the year.
Meanwhile, Utah State's strong performance this season has been because of Chuckie Keeton. Keeton has put up impressive numbers this season, catching the attention of the country.
Looking at Keeton’s stats, we see he has thrown for more than 1,362 yards and 17 touchdowns while completing 71 percent of his passes. Keeton has also been a threat running the ball, as he has tallied more than 224 yards and two touchdowns.
Right away, it’s hard not to notice the huge difference between Keeton and Hill. Looking into more of Hill’s numbers, we see that his one touchdown pass came during the first game of the season against Virginia on Aug. 31.
Think about that for a moment. That means that during all of September, Hill did not throw a single touchdown pass. BYU, which has been called Quarterback University for its great quarterbacks over the years, did not have a single touchdown pass in the month of September. Simply crazy.
Most people know BYU because of its prolific passing attack over the years under LaVell Edwards. BYU set many passing records with the likes of Steve Young, Ty Detmer, Jim McMahon, Marc Wilson and many more at the quarterback helm.
Even in just this past decade, BYU has had great quarterbacks in John Beck and Max Hall. So what has happened? Many things have taken place in college football over the last couple of years.
One of the biggest things that has taken place has been the use of the spread offenses with its accompaning zone reads. Not only that, but many teams operate a no huddle offense in which they hurry and fire plays off in order to take advantage of defenses who are not yet set.
Simply put, the game has evolved and continues to evolve as many new records (for good or for bad) are taking place with the new philosophies of college football.
The game between these in-state rivals battling for The Old Wagon Wheel will be an interesting one. If Utah State wants to beat BYU this year after losing the past two games, it will need to keep that streak of no-touchdown pass games going for BYU.
The Cougars have won the last two games in the series against USU thanks in large part to the home field advantage, and hope to extend their streak over the Aggies.
Utah State is no pushover and will look to win a high-profile game after coming up just short over the years. The Aggies have lost many heartbreaking games lately. In 2011, they lost by four points to Auburn and three to BYU. In 2012, they lost by two to Wisconsin and three to BYU again. Then this year, the Aggies lost by four to Utah.
If the Aggies want to break the streak, they will have to capitalize on the home field advantage, as well as making BYU one-dimensional on offense. Doing so would keep BYU's bizarre streak going and allow the Aggies a big opportunity to win the game.
After both teams lost heartbreaking games against Utah this season, this week’s game will help showcase which team is the second-best team in the state. The game will be played Friday in Logan at Romney Stadium, with CBS Sports Network televising the game at 6 p.m. MDT.
Justin Giles is a recent graduate of the University of Utah. EMAIL: email@example.com
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