This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Logan • If BYU hoped for any motivational material from Utah State coach Matt Wells during weekly news conference Monday, the Cougars failed to get it.
BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum?
The Cougars' fleet of talented and oversized receivers?
BYU defensive end Brandon Kaufusi?
Wells heaped praise on everybody but Cosmo the Cougar as he previewed Saturday afternoon's game at Maverik Stadium, which wraps up the regular season for both teams.
"BYU Week," Wells said. "In-state rivalry. Exciting week around the office. Very motivating. Easy for players and coaches to play well, scheme well and prepare well. We're excited. … It's a huge game for us and our program."
Utah State is 6-5 this season and bowl-eligible for the fifth straight season a school record.
The Aggies have also won 14 straight home games but, to extend their streak, they must slow a BYU offense built around Mangum. Since taking over for the injured Taysom Hill early in the season, he has passed for 2,778 yards and 17 touchdowns.
"The QB has confidence," Wells said. "He's got moxie. You can see him fitting balls into tight windows and that, to me, is a sign of a confident quarterback."
BYU's group of wide receivers includes Mitch Matthews, Mitch Juergens and Devon Blackmon. Combined, they have 119 receptions this season.
"Major challenge," Wells said. "I don't know how we're going to play defense with those guys out there. I mean, they're 6-5 and 6-6. You've got Devon, who is a former Oregon player. …
"We're going to petition to play with 12. It's just a major, major challenge because those guys can play. Those guys can all play. Right now, I don't know how we're going to play them. They're good. They're really, really good."
Wells saved his highest praise for Kaufusi, who has 10 sacks this season and "will be playing football for a long time."
Asked if he's the best defensive end Utah State has faced in its first 11 games, Wells said, "I don't know if he's the best. He might be. The only reason I say he's not the best is because we've seen some other good players. But he's up there.
"The guy is a modern-day Goliath. Y'all don't walk out on the field in pregame and see him because you'll be scared. He's humongous. And he's athletic. That's what Goliath had to look like, back in the day. I mean, he's intimidating. .. The guy's a beast. That's beast-mode, in my opinion."
For Utah State, either sophomore Kent Myers or senior Chuckie Keeton will start at quarterback.
Myers injured his shoulder on the first play of Saturday's 31-27 victory over Nevada. Keeton replaced him and, after playing only three snaps since Sept. 19 because of a sprained knee, helped rally the Aggies from a 27-7 deficit.
Wells said Myers was going to meet with doctors late Monday afternoon. He hinted his first comment on the results of the examination and announcement on his starter against BYU will come on his local radio show Wednesday night.
"So everybody in Utah County can be listening to the show," he said. "Tune in."
BYU at Utah State
Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
TV • CBS Sports Network