5 players to watch as Utah State takes on Southern Utah

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LOGAN — Utah State coaches, players and fans alike are eagerly awaiting the kickoff to the 2015 season Thursday night. While the Aggies' opener does not have the fanfare associated with the Thursday-night Michigan vs. Utah matchup or the Saturday-afternoon BYU vs. Nebraska showdown, five players are looking to make a big impact.

Chuckie Keeton

Chuckie Keeton hopes to avoid a repeat of the last time he faced an FCS opponent, where he posted a full-game career-low completion percentage of 43.3 percent. A fast start by Keeton in this game will calm the hearts of many Aggie fans. In his second consecutive year coming off injury, Keeton looks to get off to a fast start against a Southern Utah pass defense that struggled last year. Look for Keeton to find some rhythm and timing with his receivers and get out of the opener injury-free.

James Cowser

Southern Utah senior defensive end James Cowser is the best player on this team's defense. Cowser has garnered a lot of attention in the preseason — named Big Sky Preseason Defensive MVP — and is expected to have another big season on defense. In 2014 Cowser broke the Big Sky single-season tackles for loss record with 28.5. The record was previously held by the Chicago Bears' Jared Allen. Cowser will push a Utah State offensive line that struggled at points last year. If Cowser is able to impose his will, Aggie fans should worry about what Utah's defensive front will do in week two.


LT Filiaga

Senior inside linebacker LT Filiaga is nine months removed from a season-ending Achilles tendon tear. Filiaga saw very limited reps toward the end of fall camp but is listed as a starter at inside linebacker. It will be interesting to see how Filiaga plays coming off a major injury and not having the time to work back into game shape. Utah State needs to see a fully healthy Filiaga going into a week-two game against Utah.

Ammon Olsen

Fresh off a 3,049-yard, 21-touchdown season, Southern Utah senior quarterback Ammon Olsen is back for his first full season starting under center. Olsen seems to have improved going into his second season at SUU and should bring tremendous poise and leadership to the offense. Head coach Ed Lamb had high praise for Olsen's progress in an interview with Ryan Love.

"His preparation has been night and day. Last year, Ammon became our starter midway through the season. He just didn't have the preparation he has now. But he's done a really great job this year of handling the leadership role and operating the offense for us." Olsen will hope to run SUU's offense efficiently and mistake-free to keep the game close.

Ben Wysocki

Ben Wysocki will get the start for Tyshon Mosley while he serves his two-game suspension for violation of team rules. Wysocki is a graduate transfer from UCLA, where he saw time at all five positions across the line. Wysocki has only been with the team since just before fall camp and still needs to fully grasp the Aggie offense. Wysocki will need to integrate quickly to help Utah State establish a run game and protect Keeton.

Parker Robertson is a graduate of Utah State University, a freelance contributor and an avid fan of sports. Follow me on Twitter @ParkerRob78 Email: ParkerRobertson18@gmail.com

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