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Mountain West Report: Injury to QB Keeton devastates Utah State

injury to qb keeton devastates utah state

If any football team was to prevent Boise State from winning the Mountain Division, it figured to be Utah State.

But probably not anymore.

The Aggies suffered a devastating loss Friday when quarterback Chuckie Keeton went down with a season-ending knee injury against Brigham Young.

Their once-promising season suddenly is in deep trouble, as are their chances of beating Boise State on Saturday. The visiting Broncos are 7-point favorites in the Mountain West game.

Utah State coach Matt Wells said junior Craig Harrison and incoming freshman Darell Garretson will battle it out in practice this week, with the starter not being revealed until game time.

“I think Craig will get better with extended (repetitions),” Wells said. “Darrell hasn’t taken many reps since training camp, but he had an awful lot towards the end of camp. We’ll see where those guys are, we’ll see who plays well around them and how they handle the situation this week.”

Neither one probably will match Keeton’s do-everything skills. Behind Keeton, the Aggies went 11-2 last season and beat Toledo 41-15 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. He passed for 3,373 yards and rushed for 619.

The Aggies were off to another promising start this season, winning three games and losing to Southern California and Utah by a combined seven points. BYU took advantage of Keeton’s absence to win 31-14.

Before the injury, Keeton had thrown for 1,388 yards with 18 touchdown passes and just two interceptions while also rushing for 241 yards.

Now Utah State’s season is in jeopardy, and not just because of Keeton’s injury. The Aggies also have lost running back Joe Hill and guard Kyle Whimpey.

“I think we have a bunch of tough-minded kids,” Wells said. “I think they’re individually motivated. I think they’re externally motivated by where they are in the standings. They know they’re 2-0 in the Mountain West; they know every goal is still out there for them. They know there’s only one thing on their mind, and that’s rallying around a new tailback, a new quarterback, a new guard and trying to find a way to win Saturday night.”

AROUND THE LEAGUE

United Services Automobile Association paid the $230,000 travel costs for Air Force to play at Navy last Saturday when the federal government shutdown threatened cancellation of the game. No word has been given on whether the Falcons’ home game on Thursday against San Diego State will go on as planned. … Boise State is 9-0 following byes under eighth-year coach Chris Petersen. … Colorado State cornerback Bernard Blake (neck) and wide receiver Charles Lovett (knee) are expected to return to action this weekend. Blake was taken off on a backboard Sept. 28 against Texas-El Paso, and Lovett was injured in training camp. … Fresno State’s Davante Adams caught 16 passes for 185 yards and three touchdowns on Saturday against Idaho. The receptions total tied the school record held by Larry Willis in 1984 and Ron Jenkins in 1987. … New Mexico leads the nation with 367.8 yards rushing per game.

POWER RANKINGS

1. No. 21 Fresno State (5-0, 2-0 MW). Last game: Defeated Idaho 61-14. Next game: Vs. UNLV, Oct. 19. Last meeting: Won 46-28 in 1997.

2. Boise State (3-2, 1-1). Last game: Defeated Southern Mississippi 60-7. Next game: At Utah State, Saturday. Won 50-14 in 2010.

3. Wyoming (3-2, 1-0). Last game: Lost to Texas State 42-21. Next game: Vs. New Mexico, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 28-23 in 2012.

4. San Jose State (2-3, 1-1). Last game: Defeated Hawaii 37-27. Next game: At Colorado State, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 40-20 in 2012.

5. Utah State (3-3, 2-0). Last game: Lost to Brigham Young 31-14. Next game: Vs. Boise State, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 50-14 in 2010.

6. UNLV (3-2, 1-0). Last game: Defeated New Mexico 56-42. Next game: Vs. Hawaii, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 48-10 in 2012.

7. San Diego State (2-3, 1-0). Last game: Defeated UNR 51-44 in overtime. Next game: At Air Force, Thursday. Last meeting: Won 28-9 in 2012.

8. UNR (3-3, 2-1). Last game: Lost to San Diego State 51-44 in overtime. Next game: At Boise State, Oct. 19. Last meeting: Lost 27-21 in 2012.

9. Colorado State (2-3, 0-0). Last game: Defeated Texas-El Paso 59-42. Next game: Vs. San Jose State, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 40-20 in 2012.

10. New Mexico (2-3, 0-1). Last game: Defeated New Mexico State 66-17. Next game: At Wyoming, Saturday. Last meeting: Lost 28-23 in 2012.

11. Air Force (1-5, 0-4). Last game: Lost to Navy 28-10. Next game: Vs. San Diego State, Thursday. Last meeting: Lost 28-9 in 2012.

12. Hawaii (0-5, 0-3). Last game: Lost to San Jose State 37-27. Next game: At UNLV, Saturday. Last meeting: Won 48-10 in 2012.

GAME OF THE WEEK

Boise State (3-2, 1-1 MW) at Utah State (3-3, 2-0). The selection of games isn’t great this week, and this matchup would be better if Keeton was healthy for Utah State. The Aggies will show what they’re made of without him.

MARK ANDERSON/LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

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