Schedule and Odds
Utah State may have the best shot to dethrone Boise State, but it’s going to require a healthy quarterback to do it. The Aggies finished with 10 wins last year despite using Four different starting QBs. Their over/under in June was set at 8 wins (at 5 Dimes) with heavy money on the over. They have the third-best odds (+700) to win the conference, mainly because they play in the Mountain division with Boise.
USU’s season may not depend on Chuckie Keeton, but if they want to win the conference, it does. But to do what they did last year with Keeton only playing three Games was significant. Keeton has great numbers throughout his career, but getting injured every season hampers any kind of full-season outlook. Maybe the best news is that backup Kent Myers saw a good amount of action in 2014 as a freshman.
Every other position seems set for the Aggies on offense. They return five guys to the line that have starting experience. Last year’s leading rusher LAJuan Hunt (540 yards) should get a heavy load, but senior Rashad Hall and JUCO transfer Devante Mays will see touches as well. Do-it-all JoJo Natson will get some of those carries as well since he does pretty much everything for the offense (50 rushes, 51 receptions). Top receiver Hunter Sharp (939 yards, 7 TDs) and tight end Wyatt Houston are also back. Keeton looked fine in spring practices and if he somehow makes it through the entire season, look out for the Aggies.
That said, this team will still rely on its defense as much as possible to win Games. This group allowed less than 20 points per Game last year and returns six of those starters. The defense brings in new coordinator Kevin Clune, who comes from Hawaii, but he is a former LBs coach with Utah State so the group won’t change much.
The Aggies are dealing with a lot of injuries on defense as well, but have the depth to where it shouldn’t change projections. Nick Vigil and Torrey Green are expected to have huge seasons at linebacker, while Kyler Fackrell might be the biggest question returning from an ACL injury. Fackrell could be the best LB in the Conference if he can stay on the field. Elsewhere, they’ll have experience at cornerback and have enough strength on the line starting with Jordan Nielsen, to not skip a beat.
Utah State has a tough Schedule, so that should come into play if you bet them to win the conference. In non-Conference play, the Aggies have to travel to Utah and Washington in early-season play, which could both be losses. The best part of their MWC Schedule is that they get to host Boise State and Colorado State in revenge Games. On the other end of that, they have to travel to Fresno State and San Diego State, two of the better teams out of the West division, and two teams they didn’t play last year. Reaching nine wins will be tough because of those road Games alone.
Still, Keeton can’t really be a detractor at this point since the Aggies know not to count on him too much. Utah State will have one of the best defenses in the Conference and that should give them enough to challenge Boise State, who is dealing with a new QB.
2015 Utah State Football Schedule
Sept. 3 vs. Southern Utah
Sept. 11 at Utah
Sept. 19 at Washington
Oct. 3 vs. Colorado State
Oct. 10 at Fresno State
Oct. 16 vs. Boise State
Oct. 23 at San Diego State
Oct. 30 vs. Wyoming
Nov. 7 at New Mexico
Nov. 14 at Air Force
Nov. 21 vs. Nevada
Nov. 28 vs. BYU