Utah was forced into a toe-to-toe affair by the Utah State offense led by quarterback Chuckie Keeton, but it was the Utes who emerged victorious with a 30-26 win over their in-state rivals Thursday night. Utah State posted a 17-14 halftime lead, but was never able to stretch that thin margin.
Even in a loss, Keeton was the highlight of the night. The junior quarterback finished 29-of-37 for 299 yards and two touchdowns, with 84 rushing yards on 15 attempts to boot. Yet, his counterpart, Utah quarterback Travis Wilson, was an equally efficient 17-of-28 for 302 yards and two touchdowns.
The difference, then, might've been the fumble Keeton lost with 4:32 remaining in the second quarter. At that point, Utah State had reached Utah's 31-yard line with a fresh set of downs.
The scoring started early and continued relatively often, as Utah scored first on a 3-yard pass from Wilson to Dres Anderson less than five minutes into the game. Utah State followed with a 26-yard field goal by Nick Diaz, and Utah ended the first quarter 30-yard touchdown toss from Wilson to Jake Murphy.
The second quarter was all Keeton, as the Aggies' quarterback completed two touchdown passes to Brandon Swindall to give Utah State its slim halftime lead.
Out of the break, Keeton capped a nine-play, 75-yard drive with a 15-yard rush for a touchdown. That put Utah State ahead, 23-14, but it was the last semblance of a comfortable lead the Aggies held all night. 10 unanswered points by Utah put the Utes ahead, 24-23, entering the fourth, and then stout defense held Utah State to just one more field goal at the 10:39 mark.
Utah scored for the last time with 19 seconds left, on a 38-yard field goal by Andy Phillips. Keeton was able to complete on pass on the subsequent drive, but his last-second Hail Mary fell incomplete to hand Utah the victory.