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LOGAN -- After a difficult and heartbreaking double-overtime Homecoming loss to Colorado State this past weekend, Utah State head coach Gary Andersen now has his eyes set on the Cougars of Brigham Young University. The Aggies will travel to Provo this Friday and look to improve on their 1-2 record.
When talking about BYU, one must start with their much bewildered offense. First year offensive coordinator Brandon Doman has not had his team on the same page all season (especially sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps). This should be a good sign for Coach Andersen since he is the defensive coordinator and has had great success against the run.
Heaps might be able to take advantage of a troubled USU secondary if the star studded line backing core, led by senior Bobby Wagner, can't get pressure on the quarterback, it will be a difficult game for the Aggies. Utah State was able to record four sacks against the Rams, with senior defensive end Levi Koskan led the way getting to the quarterback twice. The oft-injured BYU offensive line will have their hands full in this game.
One thing that the Aggies have in common with the Cougars is both head coaches are also defensive coordinators. Since head coach Bronco Mendenhall took over the defensive play calling last year, the Cougars have been a much different team defensively. USU offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin will need to be much more aggressive and much more creative in his play calling if he expects to keep senior linebacker Jordan Pendleton out of the backfield and protect true-freshman quarterback Chuckie Keeton.
Junior running back Robert Turbin has been having a dream season so far rushing for eight touchdowns, four in the past game alone, but he will have a tough game in front of him with BYU's linebackers that include Pendleton, junior Brandon Ogletree and USC junior transfer Uona Kaveinga having their eyes trained on him all night unless the passing game can get back on track.
One point where BYU has struggled this season is on special teams. The Cougars have had times where they have given up big kick/punt returns to the opposition. This bodes well for junior returner Kerwynn Williams, who was held in check for the most part against Colorado State. On the other hand, BYU sophomore wide receiver Cody Hoffman returned a kick-off for a score against UCF this past weekend.
Brigham Young has a solid team that has not lived up to its potential while Utah State has had some hard luck losses this season. When the Battle for the Old Wagon Wheel kicks-off again this Friday, Coach Andersen will have his team confident and ready to play after the loss to CSU. Look for big games from QB Keeton, RB Turbin and LBs Wagner and senior Kyle Gallagher.
Expect a shootout with the team that has the ball last to come out on top. This will be a good one.