The Utah State football team isn’t going to dwell on Friday’s catastrophe against BYU.
Instead the Aggies are looking forward and staying focused on winning the Mountain West Conference.
“I think our team will rally just fine. I think we have a bunch of tough-minded kids. I think they’re individually motivated,” said USU head football coach Matt Wells. “I think they’re externally motivated by where they are in the standings. They know they’re 2-0 in the Mountain West, they know every goal is still out there for them.
The Aggies lost Chuckie Keeton for the remainder of the season on Friday, but they’re putting their noses to the grindstone to prep for Boise State on Saturday.
The Broncos are 3-2 overall coming off a 60-7 win over Southern Miss, but are 1-1 in MWC play — a game behind the Aggies in the Mountain division. And BSU knows it can’t afford to fall two games back.
Offensively Boise is ranked No. 17 in the country with an average of 42.2 points per game. The Broncos have topped the 40-point plateau in four of their five games this season, including in a 41-40 loss to Fresno State two weeks ago.
Quarterback Joe Southwick is No. 35 in the country in passing, having amassed 1254 yards through the air and nine touchdowns while throwing three interceptions. Southwick has led the Broncos to an average of 491.4 yards per game and has proved to be tough to slow down.
“Offensively, I think Joe Southwick is finding his groove. They’ve got a lot of mojo. They scheme around his talents, which I think good offensive coaches do,” Wells said. “They’ve done a nice job there. Both backs are downhill, physical running backs, and I like them both. They do a nice job.”
Meanwhile, the Aggies are keeping under wraps who their starting quarterback will be that replaces Keeton under center.
“It will be Craig Harrison or Darrell Garretson, we’ll look at them both this week,” Wells said. “You’ll know on game day. That’ll be about the last time I answer that. Those two guys are going to work together and we’ll see who settles in the best.”
Utah State struggled against a highly-ranked BYU defense Friday, but the Broncos have given up 405.6 yards per game to their opponents this season. On average, 154.6 of those yards have come on the ground against the Broncos, while their opponents have put up 251.2 yards per game through the air.
“They’re very sound on defense. Their defensive front is typical Boise State. They’re blue-collared, tough, hard-nosed players,” Wells said. “They two-gap a lot up front and they do a nice job in their pressure packages, which I would expect to heat up this week. It will be something we’re ready for.”
Boise State leads the all-time series against the Aggies 13-4, and the last time the teams met, the then-No. 9 Broncos ran all over USU in a 50-14 BSU victory in Boise.
Down three starters on offense with a lot of question marks, the Aggies aren’t taking Boise State lightly.
“I have a lot of respect for Coach (Chris) Petersen and his staff. I’ve known him for a long time, and have watched and competed against him,” Wells said. “I said the minute we got into the Mountain West that they are the program we all want to model ourselves after. From a consistency standpoint, from an effort standpoint and a toughness standpoint, I think they do a great job.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 12 at Romney Stadium.