When quarterback Chuckie Keeton went down with a knee injury last year, Utah State’s football season looked as if it was good as done.
The Aggies weathered the storm, however, and backup Darell Garretson wound up leading them to the Mountain West title game.
Now Keeton is out again, so that experience should benefit the Aggies.
He suffered another injury to the same left knee, but this time Keeton isn’t expected to be gone for the rest of the season. He won’t play Saturday at Arkansas State, but then after a bye could return Oct. 3 at Brigham Young.
“Chuckie is fine from a health standpoint,” Utah State coach Matt Wells said at his news conference Monday. “The (anterior cruciate ligament) is intact, everything is good, it’s just banged up.”
The Aggies are fortunate they have two quality quarterbacks, and even if Keeton was going to be out for an extended time, they know they can win with Garretson. Most teams don’t have such a luxury if the starter goes down.
Though Garretson doesn’t give Utah State the ability to run that Keeton provides, he completed 60.3 percent of his passes for 1,446 yards in eight games last season.
“Darell has a tremendous amount of confidence, as do his teammates,” Wells said. “We’re very confident in him in his talents and leadership abilities.”
AROUND THE MOUNTAIN WEST
Boise State’s defense ranks in the top 10 nationally in five categories, but is 80th in total defense (403.3 yards per game) and 76th in scoring defense (26.7-point average). The Broncos did have eight sacks at Connecticut, its highest total in a game in 10 years. … Fresno State is 0-3 for the first time since 1998. The Bulldogs gave up more than 50 points and 500 yards in each game. They also have yet to name a starting quarterback, but would like to before their conference opener at New Mexico on Sept. 26. … Wyoming coach Craig Bohl’s personal 26-game winning streak ended when the Cowboys lost 48-14 to Oregon. He was hired at Wyoming after last season following tremendous success at North Dakota State, where he won the past three Football Championship Subdivision national championships.
1. San Diego State (1-1, 0-0 MW). Last game: Lost to North Carolina 31-27. Next game: at Oregon State, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 34-30 in 2013. Line: Oregon State -10½.
2. Boise State (2-1, 1-0). Last game: Defeated Connecticut 38-21. Next game: vs. Louisiana, Saturday. First meeting. Line: Boise State -17.
3. Utah State (2-1, 0-0). Last game: Defeated Wake Forest 36-24. Next game: at Arkansas State, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 16-7 in 2004. Line: Off.
4. Colorado State (2-1, 0-1). Last game: Defeated UC Davis 49-21. Next game: at Boston College, Sept. 27. Last meeting: Lost 35-21 in 2003. Line: N/A.
5. UNR (2-1, 0-0). Last game: Lost to Arizona 35-28. Next game: at San Jose State, Sept. 27. Last meeting: Won 38-16 in 2013. Line: N/A.
6. Wyoming (2-1, 1-0). Last game: Lost to Oregon 48-14. Next game: vs. Florida Atlantic, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 30-28 in 2009. Line: Wyoming -4.
7. Air Force (2-1, 0-1). Last game: Defeated Georgia State 48-38. Next game: vs. Boise State, Sept. 27. Last meeting: Lost 42-20 in 2013. Line: N/A.
8. Hawaii (1-2, 0-0). Last game: Defeated Northern Iowa 27-24. Next game: at Colorado, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 34-17 in 2011. Line: Colorado -7.
9. Fresno State (0-3, 0-0). Last game: Lost to Nebraska 55-19. Next game: vs. Southern Utah, Saturday. First meeting. Line: N/A.
10. San Jose State (1-1, 0-0). Last game: Lost to Auburn 59-13. Next game: at Minnesota, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 43-24 in 2013. Line: Minnesota -7½.
11. UNLV (1-2, 0-0). Last game: Lost to Northern Illinois 48-34. Next game: at Houston, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 37-9 in 1990. Line: Houston -20½.
12. New Mexico (0-2, 0-0). Last game: Lost to Arizona State 58-23. Next game: at New Mexico State, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 66-17 in 2013. Line: New Mexico -5.
GAME OF THE WEEK
San Diego State at Oregon State. A victory by the Aztecs would be a strong step forward in establishing them as Mountain West contenders. Oregon State, though, isn’t off to a blazing start, defeating Portland State 29-14 and Hawaii 38-30.
MARK ANDERSON/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL