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at Utah State 63 … Wyoming 19

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 8, 2011


Week 6 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - Wyoming at Utah State


2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 6 - Wyoming at Utah State

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Oct. 8 at Utah State 63 … Wyoming 19
CFN Analysis: Finally, the Aggie offense didn’t have any problems blowing up and putting a team away, and the defense didn’t need to come up with a final fourth quarter stop. The running game was a thing of beauty with Robert Turbin continuing to roll and the five players running for 44 yards or more, including Chuckie Keeton, who also threw five touchdown passes to five different receivers. The Aggies never let the Cowboys breathe by holding on to the ball drive after drive converting 8-of-11 third down chances. The momentum has to keep on rolling with the WAC opener at Fresno State up next, and while the pass defense hasn’t been bad so far, it hasn’t faced a good passing game since Auburn.

Wyoming got lit up by a hot team. Nebraska ran wild and now Utah State went ballistic with the offensive line owning the Cowboy defensive front at will. UW couldn’t get the defense off the field struggling on third down play after third down play, while the offense couldn’t keep up the pace in the second half despite Brett Smith’s 265 passing yards. This might have been ugly, but it was a non-conference game. A win over UNLV next week is a must with at San Diego State, TCU, and at Air Force coming up next; a loss to the Rebels ends any bowl hopes.

(AP) LOGAN, Utah -- Chuckie Keeton threw five touchdown passes and Michael Smith ran for two more scores as Utah State cruised past Wyoming 63-19 on Saturday night.

Robert Turbin also ran for 109 yards, his fourth-consecutive 100-plus yard game for the Aggies (2-3). Turbin scored on the ground and caught a 19-yard Keeton pass for a score, becoming the Aggies' fourth all-time leading career scorer.

Wyoming (3-2) was led by Brett Smith, who threw for 265 yards on 28-of-46 attempts and an interception. Wyoming was held scoreless in the second half.

Keeton converted seven of seven third-down conversion attempts and USU never punted before the freshman was replaced with 4:05 remaining in the third quarter. He was 15-of-20 attempts and ran for 44 yards.

Utah State entered the game ranked 11th nationally in rushing, and ended the game with 318 yards on the ground and 548 total yards. The Aggies had 29 first downs in the game, their highest total of the season.

In the first half, Wyoming scored twice before USU's offense touched the ball. The Cowboys scored on their first possession, going 77 yards in seven plays, Brett Smith scoring on a short dive. USU's Kerwin Williams mishandled the ensuing kickoff and Wyoming jumped on the ball in the end zone for a 12-0 early lead.

The Aggies countered by scoring twice in the first quarter, the second one coming when Michael Smith scored on a 53-yard screen pass.

The first play of the second quarter was a 19-yard scoring pass to Turbin from Keeton, giving Utah State a 21-12 edge. The Aggies would score three more times in the second quarter and led 42-19 at halftime, the most points an Aggie team has scored in a half since 1991. Each of Keeton's scoring passes went to a different receiver. That list also included D.J. Tialavea, Tarren Lloyd and Stanley Morrison.

Utah State's final score, 4-yard run by Robert Marshall, gave the Aggies their highest point total since 1963.

The Aggies' return game also hit a season high, with Kerwynn Williams gaining 125 yards in kickoff returns (including one for 54 yards) and a 19-yard average in punt returns.

Wyoming (3-1) at Utah State (1-3) Oct. 8, 8:00, ESPN3

Here’s The Deal … Utah State has been on TV in two exciting national games so far, and lost both in painful fashion. Including the late gaffes against Auburn and BYU, and their home loss to Colorado State the Aggies have now lost three games when they've had a fourth quarter lead. The lovable loser that they have traditionally been has become a bit of an enigma now that they haven't been able to follow through to finish with the win.

Prior to these past three years with coach Gary Andersen’s new schemes brought in from his time as Utah’s defensive coordinator, Utah State was one of the most anemic programs in the nation. Since Anderson’s arrival they have played consistently close but not close enough. Call it knowing how to win, or a tradition of winning as opposed to losing, or any other variation on that theme, the bottom line is that they just don’t know how to finish.

Meanwhile, something special appears to be under way a few hundred miles east of Logan (short by regional standards) in Laramie as the Cowboys have suddenly rediscovered how to win themselves. Since coach Dave Christensen’s 2009 inaugural year, Wyoming has struggled to find the offense it has wanted. So far this season that offense seems to have arrived, albeit in newborn form. The attack Christensen ran as Missouri’s offensive coordinator prior to taking over at UW was more of a spread Air Raid variation, while the 2011 offense is more balanced in terms of rushing to passing attempts. The pass game has produced a few more overall yards. All this thanks to the dutiful efforts of freshman QB Brett Smith who has preformed well beyond his years in spite of getting thrown in to the starting role ahead of schedule.

Why Wyoming Might Win: There's a new chip on the shoulder and a new attitude. The Cowboys aren't soft, they know what it is to be beaten and they know how to do the beating right back. Wyoming does know, and has demonstrated twice so far that it can hang tough in the fourth quarter and find a way to win, something that Utah State struggles with.

The pass game has been surprisingly effective considering Brett Smith was supposed to be carrying a clipboard this year. Instead he has remained poised in the pocket and has distributed the ball well enough to have five receivers with over one hundred yards catching, over just four games. Lead by sophomore WR Robert Herron with three touchdowns and 211 yards receiving, the passing game is finally becoming what coach Christensen has wanted.

Why Utah State Might Win: Utah State is currently the proud owner of the nation's fifth-ranked rushing attack, and not for the benefit of soft scheduling. The spread offense coach Gary Andersen brought with him is working well with Utah State's own freshman duel threat QB Chuckie Keeton, one of four Aggies with over 100 yards rushing. RB Robert Turbin is the teams no nonsense workhorse, who leads that group of rushers with 488 yards. Wyoming's 91st ranked rushing defense has struggled too much so far and doesn't have the linebackers to handle the Aggie spread. The bounty hunter squad that Wyoming calls it’s defensive unit is the second best aspect of the team’s play right now, and if ever there was a time to take advantage, now would be good.

What To Watch Out For: Utah State running back Robert Turbin versus Wyoming’ defensive lineman Mike Purcell. The Wyoming D is having trouble finding it’s groove, but it’s got guys like Purcell that can command a double team in the middle and it has a tradition of being good. Utah State is under no obligation to try and bash Turbin through Purcell though; they run the option and all manner of lateral routes as well as anyone in the nation. For Wyoming stopping even one aspect of Utah State's run game, such as up the middle, would be a boon, and Turbin loves those shoulder down tough yards so expect this trench territory to generate some interesting audio all the way up to the press booth.

What Will Happen: Utah State has to have a coming out party some time this year, right? It has been too close too often. That’s the theory at least. Wyoming is doing a lot of things right; it just hasn’t been able to jell quite right. Something’s got to give.

More than likely that thing will be the Wyoming rush defense. The Utah State run is just too established as a strong unit to be held back by a defense that still needs tuning. If Wyoming can keep this close into the fourth quarter, then maybe a new nightmare will emerge in the dreams of Utah States fans, but the fourth quarter bungles are going to be a thing of the past. Everything will finally work for the Aggies for a full four quarters.

CFN Prediction: Utah State 38 ... Wyoming 28
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