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Logan • Looking at the film was painful for Utah State.
The rerun of Friday's 6-3 loss to BYU told the tale of unforced errors, missed chances and uncharacteristic play, with Chuckie Keeton and senior wide receiver Matt Austin at the center of the mishaps.
Austin lost a pass in the lights of LaVell Edwards Stadium, a catch that would've gone for a big gain.
Keeton, the sophomore quarterback, badly underthrew wideout Chuck Jacobs on a post pattern that could've scored a touchdown. He also missed Austin and held the ball too long in the passing game, which invited pressure from the Cougars, according to coach Gary Andersen.
Practice this week will emphasize the basics as San Jose State looms Saturday afternoon. It shapes up as almost a must-win for the Aggies in their Western Athletic Conference opener.
"The one thing we have to do is focus on the little things," Austin said during Monday's news conference. "We did a lot of things wrong against BYU, like dropped balls and route-running. BYU has a great defense, that's true. But to us, that's no excuse. The offense goes up against a great defense each day in practice. So we have a lot to clean up. We feel that we didn't do our part as an offense."
Success against the Spartans likely will hinge on USU's ability to get into the end zone. San Jose State has been a surprise team this season. It has won four of five games, with its only defeat coming to Stanford.
San Jose State's offense boasts explosive ability. The Spartans have scored 40 or more points twice and scored 38 in a win over San Diego State. Utah State escaped with a 34-33 victory at Romney Stadium last season. The two are developing a rivalry that's sure to intensify next season when both schools enter the Mountain West Conference.
"It's a talented program and they have talented players," Andersen said. "The last few games between the schools have been hotly contested. We expect to have our hands full when we go up there. It's a big game. The winner is going to have a big leg up in the conference race. We're going to have a tremendous challenge on our hands."