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What to watch for: Utah State vs. Weber State

What to watch for: Utah State vs. Weber State

By Matt Harris, Contributor | Posted - Sep. 8, 2011 at 3:49 p.m.

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

LOGAN -- In last week's game against Auburn, the Utah State Aggies proved a lot of doubters wrong with an excellent showing against the defending national champions.

With that being said, however, the devastating loss at the hands of the Tigers now raises more questions about the Aggies moving forward into this week's game at home against the Weber State Wildcats.

  1. How will the team respond to the heartbreaking loss at Auburn?
    The Aggies came this close to knocking off the Tigers on the road last Saturday. Were it not for the meltdown during the last three minutes of the 4th quarter, Utah State would be looking for their second straight victory this week instead of their first. Look for the Aggies to use the bitter ending of the Auburn game as fuel against Weber State this weekend. Head coach Gary Andersen has been working on the psyche of the Aggies throughout this week, helping to get them ready for the rest of the season and to not just focus on the first loss of the season.
  2. What will Chuckie Keeton do for an encore?
    After a stellar performance by the true freshman quarterback, it sure looks like Utah State has found their signal caller for the next four years. Keeton, in his first career start, completed 21 of 30 passes for 213 yards and rushed eight times for 33 yards and two touchdowns. The golden stat of the day for Keeton was the number zero, as in zero interceptions. Keeton made smart decisions in the pocket all day long and definitely gave the Aggie faithful high hopes for the future. Keeton was so impressive last weekend that he was named the National Freshman Player of the Week, along with honors as Utah State's America First Credit Union Student Athlete of the Week. Look for Keeton to be fired up for his first start in front of the home crowd.
  3. How do the Aggies' special teams pick themselves up off the ground?
    After a poor showing in Auburn, Utah State's special teams had to take a long look at themselves to figure out what went wrong. With several kickoffs and punts being returned for big yardage, some for touchdowns, you know coach Andersen has worked through several different scenarios with the special teams in preparation for not only this weekend's game, but for the remainder of the season. A big concern in Aggie land this past week was the ease with which Auburn recovered that onside kick last in the 4th quarter. Look for Utah State to make the proper adjustments this week against Weber State.
  4. Could the first home game of the season produce more jitters than against Auburn?
    With the Aggie faithful getting ready to descend on Romney Stadium in Logan on Saturday, there is the possibility that the team could be over-hyped for the home opener and come out flat against the Wildcats. The tendency to focus on the past as opposed to the future could haunt the Aggies if they can't shake off the loss against Auburn. Couple this with a Weber State team that is coming off of a similar heartbreaking loss in the final minutes against Wyoming last week and Utah State could be facing an 0-2 hole to start the season if they don't start strong on Saturday.
  5. How does the unique coaching duel affect the game on the field?
    Utah State head coach Gary Andersen has had this date circled on his calendar for quite a long time. Andersen will be facing his mentor from his college days at the University of Utah; Weber State head coach Ron McBride. Andersen was the starting center at Utah from 1985-86 when McBride was the offensive line coach and also was an assistant head coach under McBride from 1997-2002. The roots run deep between Andersen and McBride and their long history together on the sidelines. This matchup, however, will have both coaches on opposite sides of the field. Look for Andersen and McBride to attempt to out-coach each other while staying within the systems and schemes of their respective teams. Don't expect either team to jeopardize their chances at winning just to "show up" either coach.


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Matt Harris


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