Keeton convinces this critic

Sep 14 2013 - 11:08pm

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With all possible respect to the others, Utah State's Chuckie Keeton is The One.

And by The One, I mean he's the best quarterback in the state.

Understand, I like BYU's Taysom Hill and Utah's Travis Wilson and numbers they've put up this season. They're good QBs and I'm sure they're really nice guys. I hope they lead their teams to wildly successful seasons in 2013.

But oddly enough, I feel compelled to qualify my opinion even before I get started, only because with the big Red-Blue game looming next Saturday I know fans on each side of the rivalry will be on High Alert.

And by High Alert, I mean looking for a fight.

I can already hear them now.

"What's wrong with you? Did you forget Travis already beat Chuckie head-to-head?"

And ...

"Um, helloooooo! Did Chuckie rush for 259 yards and three TDs against Texas like Taysom did?"

Or the always-popular ...

"Clearly, you've always hated (pick one: BYU, Utah), so obviously you're opinion is biased. You're such an Aggie-lover."

To which I respond: Tap the brakes, people. The Utes and Cougars already dominate the local media market and it's only going to get worse in the coming days. Plus, there's the fact Keeton proved himself to be a dynamic performer last season when he racked up nearly 4,000 yards of total offense and accounted for 35 TDs.

The bottom line is, Hill and Wilson still have some proving to do.

Even before Saturday's Utah State-Weber State game at Romney Stadium, Keeton had amassed more than 830 yards in total offense and helped account for eight TDs -- seven passing, one rushing.

Through the first two games of the season he was 63-of-80 passing (78.8 percent) and had thrown just one interception for a passing efficiency rating of 175.9.

He played only the first half during Saturday's blowout victory over the Wildcats. That was all the time he needed to complete 19 of 25 passes for 249 yards while tying his own school record of five TD passes (he also had that many during the Aggies' 52-20 win at Air Force).

Keeton's numbers are nice, but let's be honest, stats are often like furry little dogs. Sure they're cute, but sometimes you just want them to quit their yapping.

It doesn't take Lou Holtz to grasp what Keeton brings to the field: Excitement.

The numbers bear out he can beat teams with his arm as well as his legs. But what doesn't always appear in the box score is his ability to break a defender's heart with a Houdini-like knack of escaping danger.

He's here, then he's there, then he's back the other direction. Because he can extend plays, he can exhaust the guys chasing him.

But if Keeton's now-you-see-me-now-you-don't routine leaves opponents dejected it leaves Aggie fans delighted.

It also leaves media types scratching their heads and searching for adjectives; and that's critical these days. It's all about creating buzz.

There is buzz about Keeton.

He's officially a candidate for several of college football's top awards, including the Heisman Trophy.

In addition to sending out Keeton football cards, the folks up at Utah State also have created a website (www.chuckiekeeton.usu.edu) and have taken over a Twitter feed (@Chuckie4Heisman).

There's also a "Chuckie Keeton for Heisman" Facebook page, which as of this writing had 1,234 likes.

Yes, that's 1 ... 2 ... 3 ... 4.

Coincidences like that don't happen every day ... unless of course, you're The One.

Jim Burton is the Standard-Examiner's sports columnist. He can be reached at 801-625-4265 or at jburton@standard.net. He tweets at http://twitter.com/jmb247

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