College football: Without Chuckie Keeton, Utah State Aggies struggle at quarterback
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Logan • Matt Wells tried his veteran backup Craig Harrison. That didn't work.

He tried his true freshman quarterback Darell Garretson. That had decidedly mixed results.

Now, where does Utah State's head coach go? Who does he turn to for effective play at his most important position?

No doubt, USU's 34-23 loss to Boise State on Saturday night wasn't pretty by any measure. And it began with the quarterbacks.

Harrison — starting in place of the injured Chuckie Keeton — went 7 for 17 for 105 yards in a little over a half of play. He didn't turn the ball over, but the offense stalled under his leadership. Wells inserted Garretson midway through the third quarter. He was intercepted twice, but finished 9-for-14 for 116 yards and a touchdown. He played much better as he became comfortable.

"We're going to have to go back and look at the film and compare both of them," Wells said. "Darell did some good stuff at the end. I thought he got some confidence. I thought he started throwing some balls on time. We'll evaluate it and go from there on Monday."

Wells wouldn't name a starter for next week's game at New Mexico. He said that he made the switch in the third quarter because the offense was "dead."

Plus, the original race to be the starter during practice this week was pretty close. Those factors led to Wells making a move and inserting Garretson.

"I didn't think we had a whole lot going," Wells said. "There were a couple of things I didn't like. To be honest, I wanted to get Darell in and see what he could do."

With Garretson playing against the Broncos, the Arizona native is no longer eligible for a redshirt this season, a factor that could lead to Wells naming him the starter for the rest of the year. If Keeton is healthy next season, Garretson does have a redshirt available.

Either way, Wells has work in front of him to generate effective quarterback play. Utah State may not be able to win the Mountain Division, but the Aggies can still go bowling for a third consecutive season.

"Craig was moving the ball effectively," wide receiver Travis Reynolds said. "When Darell got in the game, he had to get his rhythm going. We'll take a look at the film and examine it from there."

tjones@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tjonessltrib —

USU QB comparison

Craig Harrison • 7 for 17, 105 yards, sacked twice

Darell Garretson • 9 for 14, 116 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs