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BYU (2-2) at Utah State (3-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, October 4, 8 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Romney Stadium (25,513) -- Logan, Utah. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: BYU 2-1, USU 1-0. Away Record: BYU 0-1, USU 2-2. Neutral Record: BYU 0-0, USU 0-0. Conference Record: BYU 0-0, USU 2-0. Series Record: BYU leads, 45-34-3.
GAME NOTES: The final non-conference game of the season for Utah State finds the Aggies hosting in-state rival BYU at Romney Stadium on Friday night.
The leaders in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference, off to a perfect 2-0 start, the Aggies have won three of their last four outings. The team demolished San Jose State, which like USU has made the move to the MWC from the Western Athletic Conference, in a 40-12 final last Friday night on the road.
Utah State has won nine straight home games, which is the longest streak for the school since the program set a record with 17 consecutive home triumphs between 1959-63.
As for the Cougars, currently operating as an Independent in football, they have alternated wins and losses over the first four games of the season. The most recent outcome took place last Friday night as well as the team crushed visiting Middle Tennessee, 37-10.
This outing is the first on the road for BYU since the team opened the campaign with a 19-16 defeat at the hands of Virginia. While the Cougars have won two games by a combined 46 points, they have lost two by just 10 points.
The teams scored a total of just nine points in last year's meeting, a 6-3 victory for the Cougars, which means BYU leads the all-time series by a 45-34-3 count.
Taysom Hill and Michael Alisa both posted a pair of rushing touchdowns last Friday night as the Cougars took down the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee in Provo. While the BYU defense was limiting the visitors to only 212 yards of total offense, Hill was compiling a game-high 165 yards rushing on 18 attempts, the team generating 309 yards on 55 carries overall. Hill also converted 14-of-19 passes for 177 yards and was intercepted once. Prior to a scoreless fourth quarter, the final points of the night were supplied by J.D. Falslev who returned a punt 71 yards to the end zone for the hosts.
Hill is clearly at his best when he brings the ball down and decides to run with it, which seems to be more and more often these days. Granted, the quarterback has attempted 133 passes, which is slightly more than twice as many times as he has run with the ball (66), but his 40.6 percent accuracy doesn't scare anyone right now. With an efficiency of only 83.87, Hill has just one passing score against four interceptions and the team's overall efficiency rating is 122nd in the nation.
Then again, Hill is averaging 8.6 yards per rushing attempt, the team 5.4 yards per carry, en route to a massive 307.2 ypg.
From a defensive standpoint, Kyle Van Noy continues to be the one that opponents have to game-plan for. Van Noy not only leads the Cougars in total tackles with 29, he is also first with six tackles for loss and his nine quarterback hurries are a huge chunk of the unit's overall total (13) in that department.
Utah State rolled up 520 yards of total offense, thanks in large part to quarterback Chuckie Keeton who converted 29-of-42 passes for 260 yards and three touchdowns in the romp over San Jose State in California last week. Keeton, who was frequently flushed out of the pocket, was also credited with 52 net rushing yards and one score on the ground. Joey DeMartino contributed a team-best 120 rushing yards on 17 carries as the Aggies won their eight straight conference road outing, extending their school record in that department.
Keeton, who has now thrown at least two TD passes in all five games this season, has 17 scoring tosses on the campaign, the most in the nation heading into action this week.
Not only has Keeton been tough to slow down through the air, the Aggies have also gained at least 200 rushing yards in six of the last eight outings and generated no less than 500 yards of total offense in eight of the last 11 contests, three of those monumental efforts coming in 2013.
Kyler Fackrell, who tied for the team high with 11 tackles and had the only sack against SJSU for the Aggies, leads the unit overall after five games with his four sacks and six tackles for loss. His teammates have combined for only three more sacks, one of which comes from Jake Doughty who, thanks to 35 assists, has a team-best 50 tackles.
The run defense for the Aggies will certainly be tested this week, but even though Hill will probably get his yards, matching up against Keeton will not be easy considering how versatile the latter can be in pressure situations.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah State 31, BYU 24
10/02 10:32:33 ET