LOGAN -- When any college football program has the opportunity to enliven one of the oldest rivalries in the nation by defeating an in-state foe for the first time in 13 tries, it's significant.
When one of the leaders of a program cause the stat guy in the press box to work furiously to keep up, yet still hasn't gained a signature win after nearly a season's worth of games, it's meaningful on a personal level.
His coach may acknowledge it. So might the leader of that week's BCS conference opponent. Even the quarterback who will be opposite sidelines from him Friday night may understand the reality all-too-well.
Yet Chuckie Keeton answered differently from all those parties when asked if his Aggies' ESPN2-televised contest against Utah signals another opportunity for him to gain the first trademark victory of his career.
In throwing for more than 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns in his young career, the 19-year-old has already been named one of 33 quarterbacks in the country to be placed on the College Football Performance Offensive Awards Watch List. After his first collegiate contest at Auburn last season, the Houston native was named the National Freshman of the Week by Rivals.com, inspiring fans to create a "Chuckie Keeton for Heisman" Facebook page that has been liked hundreds of times.
As of this week, he's even up for a fan vote for the Davey O'Brien Award, given to the nation's best quarterback.
The same Keeton is also just 3-5 in complete games, including just one victory over an FBS opponent (a 63-19 crushing of Wyoming last Oct. 8).
The other two? Thrashings of Southern Utah in last week's season opener and Weber State a year ago. In the defeats, the Aggies lost by an average of five points, all but one of which were decided by one score or less.
Even in consideration of a game many expect to be decided by a few key decisions, the signal-caller was quick to direct attention elsewhere -- even to a particular moment nearly 10 months ago, on an evening USU fans may not soon forget.
"Any win is a team win," he cautiously said. "(Defeating Utah) would be more for us to continue our tradition of rallying since we did against Hawaii."
That night on Nov. 5, current NFL running back Michael Smith gathered his team to speak about items that current members of the Aggie roster may not specify, but usually include references to hearts and loved ones. With Smith graduated, linebacker Bojay Filimoeatu filled in last week.
"We may have to leave him at the reins again," Keeton said of the good fortune.
Yet USU coach Gary Andersen knows the hilltop Keeton must personally climb -- and ensured it's inevitable.
"Chuckie will get himself that win, no doubt," said the fourth-year Aggie, while acknowledging the landmark nature the victory would provide the entire program. "It's just a matter of him playing very well -- as he has -- and he'll find it."
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, Andersen's 11-year coaching comrade in Salt Lake City, withholds no reservations that Keeton will have an "outstanding" career in Logan.
He just doesn't want Keeton to realize that more this week.
"The way he can beat you with his arms and legs--it's something to pay attention to," the eighth-year Utah coach said. "If he keeps to play at the level he's at, that win will come."
Utah quarterback Jordan Wynn can relate. The junior said his came during his freshman year in 2009, in a Poinsettia Bowl win over California. Like Keeton, had previously feasted on a few lesser teams, but Wynn said close defeats like an overtime decision at BYU make him sympathetic to Keeton's circumstance.
"It's definitely tough," said Wynn, who was recruited by Andersen during Utah's Sugar Bowl run in 2008 before Andersen left for Cache Valley. "The approach depends on your preparation. I just made up my mind to watch that much more film and just prepare like never before."
Perhaps Keeton will show fruits of the same in front of national cameras.
USU and Utah have made several coaching trades over the years. Three former Aggie coaches (defensive line coach Chad Kauha'ah'a, fullbacks/tight ends coach Ilaisa Tuiaki and offensive GA Robert Conley) are now on the Ute staff, while the same number of former Utah coaches (Andersen, running backs/tight ends coach Mike Sanford, linebackers coach Kevin Clune and ) are now on the USU sidelines.
One Aggie-Ute connection may take the cake, however.
Senior defensive end Dave Kruger's father, Paul, played with Andersen at Rocks College in 1983-84, where Andersen garnered first-team junior college All-American honors. Paul transferred to Oregon State, while Andersen played center for two years at Utah.
Andersen has since remained good friends with the Krugers. He assisted them in the midst of a scary incident in Jan. 2008 in which a high-school aged Dave Kruger suffered cuts to the face that required stitches. His older brother, Paul, underwent surgery for stab wounds. Paul now plays for the Baltimore Ravens.
"It absolutely is a unique dynamic," Dave said. "I'm sure dad will want to catch up with coach Andersen after the game."