LOGAN--No Chuckie, no firepower.
Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton, a member of the Heisman Watch List, exited the Aggies' game against BYU 11 minutes into the game. With backup Craig Harrison, USU was in no way able to find combustion against the Cougars, losing 31-14.
Criticized this season for his accuracy, Taysom Hill completed 17-31 passes and connected with Mitch Mathews for three touchdowns, a career high.
BYU's win over USU marked its third straight win and 22nd in its last 25 contests in the series. The Aggies' nine-game home winning streak also ended unceremoniously, as USU suffered its worst loss since a 50-14 to Boise State on Dec. 4, 2010.
Once Mathews got behind the USU secondary for a touchdown and a 31-7 lead with 5:xxxx left in the third quarter, USU fans began filing out of the sold-out Romney Stadium. Even the student section was at about one-quarter empty by the start of the fourth quarter.
Just six minutes earlier, Hill threw a floater to Mathews' back shoulder for another score, and the score before that was another Hill-to-Mathews toss with 10:30 left in the second stanza. That enabled the Cougars to take a 17-7 lead into halftime.
BYU linebacker Kyle Van Noy started USU's rough night with a 15-yard interception return for a touchdown on the Aggies' first play from scrimmage. After Hill fumbled at his own 12-yard line, Keeton threw a seven-yard pass to Travis Van Leeuwen that the receiver snuck within the northwest pylon. It tied the game at seven with 10:48 left in the first quarter. BYU responded with a 14-play, 67-yard drive, culminating in a 27-yard field goal from Justin Sorensen.
Three minutes later, Keeton maneuvered for an eight-yard run approaching midfield. But when the pile cleared, Keeton remained on the ground. He stayed motionless for several minutes before being helped to the sideline, not using his left leg.
Keeton was 4-of-10 for 26 yards.
Van Noy's interception return caused USU to allow a first quarter touchdown for just the third time in its last 22 games dating back to the 2011 season. The Aggies also trailed at the half for just the third time in its last 21 games dating back to that same season.
Midway through the second quarter, Harrison moved USU into scoring position. But Nick Diaz's 47-yard field goal was blocked.
With his touchdown toss, Keeton still moved into ninth all-time in school history for a single season (18). His four completions moved him into second place all-time with Diondre Borel for completions (517).
The Aggies return to play Saturday in Logan against Boise State. Kickoff in Logan is at 6 p.m.