The Aggies' offense needs points, and lots of them

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LOGAN — Last week, Aggie fans were thinking they were going to compete for the Mountain West crown and play tough against their in-state rivals. Now, Aggie fans' expectations are just to compete in every game.

The Aggies, picked to finish third in the Mountain West, received a shock to the system in Week 1 when the Southern Utah Thunderbirds almost walked out of Maverick Stadium with the victory. The Aggies couldn't get into an offensive flow and ended up punting the ball away 13 times in their 12-9 victory.

The Utes outplayed the Michigan Wolverines in Week 1 despite senior running back Devontae Booker's less than dominant performance. The 24-17 victory over the Big 10 school vaulted the Utes into the USA Today and AP college football rankings. As one of only seven Pac-12 teams to win in Week 1, the Utes could compete for the Pac-12 South title.

The Aggies face a tough task at Rice-Eccles Stadium Friday. Can the Aggies pull off the upset?

Here are a few headlines to watch for when the Aggies travel to Salt Lake City:

The Aggie offense has to produce — anything

The Aggie offense couldn't muster a single point a week ago and it will need to do something if it doesn't want to be blown out by the Utes. The Utes only put up 24 points against a solid Wolverine defense, but the offensive potential for the Utes has yet to be tapped.

Chuckie Keeton has to rebound from one of the worst performances of his career — 110 yards and an interception won't get it done against the Utes. Keeton will need to play like the Keeton of old and play like the Keeton of the WAC if the Aggies can escape the state's capital with a victory.

Shutting down Devontae Booker is priority No. 1

Booker didn't play to his full potential against a solid Michigan run defense. Booker finished with 22 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown. His 3.1 yards/carry was slightly troublesome, but his seven receptions for 55 yards helped. Travis Wilson also rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown.

One of the few bright spots for the Aggies against the Thunderbirds was the run defense. The front seven only allowed 52 rushing yards a week ago and they will need to have similar success against the Utes.

The Utah Utes defense bring down Utah State Aggies quarterback Chuckie Keeton (16) during NCAA football in Salt Lake City Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. Utah won 30-26. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)
The Utah Utes defense bring down Utah State Aggies quarterback Chuckie Keeton (16) during NCAA football in Salt Lake City Thursday, Aug. 29, 2013. Utah won 30-26. (Photo: Jeffrey D. Allred/Deseret News)

Contain 'Sack Lake City'

Keeton was only sacked once in Week 1. The Utes didn't record a single sack in Week 1 despite leading the FBS in sacks a season ago. That may say something about the strength of the Michigan offensive line but it may also show that this front seven isn't as explosive as the 2014 version.

The Aggie offensive line will have its hands full against the Ute defensive line and linebacking corps. Expect the Ute front seven to apply a lot of pressure on Keeton to continue Keeton's poor start to the season. Expect LaJuan Johnson to play an integral part in pass protection.

Nathan Harker is a sports writing intern currently enrolled at Brigham Young University majoring in broadcast journalism. Nathan can be reached at or via Twitter @nharker3207.

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