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Logan • Chuckie Keeton remembers the empty feeling.
A year ago, the Utah State sophomore quarterback and his teammates left the LaVell Edwards Stadium turf dejectedly, after losing a fourth-quarter lead at the hands of former USU leader Riley Nelson.
Clearly it was a game that the Aggies could've won. The 27-24 loss still sticks with Keeton, especially with the rematch against the Cougars slated for Friday night in Provo.
"It was definitely a hard loss to take," Keeton said. "We played well and we played hard last year. We know that they have a great defense. We just have to prepare well, and go out there ready to ball."
The circumstance is decidedly different this time around. Unlike in past seasons, a Utah State win wouldn't represent a major upset. The Aggies will enter the contest with a 4-1 record, a missed field goal away from a 5-0 start, and the confidence that a victory is possible.
USU doesn't yet know if it will see Nelson at quarterback, or Taysom Hill, the hotshot rookie. What the Aggies are wary of is BYU's defense, which has been one of the best in the country this season.
"We'll get started on BYU early in the week," USU coach Gary Andersen said. "It's a short week for us, and it will be a true night game for us. The kids will be excited. They will be ready to play. It's a rivalry game and those games are always very important to our program. We're excited to get started."
Cleaning penalties up and limiting turnovers will be important for USU, which suffered bouts with both in Saturday night's 35-13 win over UNLV at Romney Stadium. Keeton and Kerwynn Williams both enjoyed career nights against the Rebels. Keeton threw for 402 yards and four touchdowns. Williams had 113 yards rushing and 147 yards receiving.
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Utah State at BYU
P Friday, 8:15 p.m.
TV • ESPN