Frazier talks Utah State

The Cougars will try and win back the Old Wagon Wheel that has been fought over by BYU and Utah State since 1948. BYU hasn't lost to Utah State in 15 consecutive games at LaVell Edwards Stadium, and they don't expect that to change this year. The Aggies can expect a tough Cougar defense looking to continue that winning streak live on ESPN.

When one thinks of Utah State's offense, the first thought that comes to mind is big running back Robert Turbin. A featured weapon in the Aggie offense for many years now, Turbin had his 10th career 100-yard rushing performance in USU's tough 35-34 double-overtime loss last week to Colorado State.

"He's a big guy," Jameson Frazier said. "He's a strong guy and fast. He's fast."

Freshman Aggie quarterback Chuckie Keeton ran for two touchdowns against Auburn. A week later he rushed for 70 yards against Weber State, and gained 53 rushing yards against CSU last week. Much like when the Cougars faced Jeff Godfrey of UCF, the defense will have to slow down a mobile quarterback.

"Well, we just have to be more sure in our rush lanes with the pass rush," Frazier said. "We can't lose our contain or do something other than what the play denotes. If we lose a gap or if we get beat, then he's going to take advantage of that."

However, Keeton can also get it done through the air. He completed 21-of-30 passes for 213 yards against Auburn in what was his best passing performance so far on the season. He did have a modest 166 passing yards against Weber State, but did throw two touchdowns.

Against CSU, Keeton threw the ball only 15 times in a game that was primarily played on the ground. For a second straight week, BYU linebackers will be asked to defend against a quarterback that will look downfield but will take off and run if the opportunity arises.

"I think there are advantages and disadvantages of both," Frazier said about defending a pocket passer or a scrambler. "I think with a scrambler it's just tougher, especially on third downs. You have to be more solid on your fundamentals. You have to make sure you don't go too wild on your rush."

The UCF offense centered around Godfrey's ability to run and pass the ball. However, the Cougar defense held him in check on the ground, as he had only seven yards on 11 attempts. The preparation the Cougars did prior to the UCF game will continue over for Utah State.

"I've said this before that I think Godfrey is very similar to the quarterback that we're going to face this week," said Frazier. "I think it was a good prep week for that, and I think we're going to continue doing that this week."

The defense wasn't perfect against UCF, but they did put on another hard-hitting and respectable performance. As the Cougars prepare for Utah State at LaVell Edwards Stadium, they will take a look at what they did well and what needs to be further improved upon.

"There are obviously things in the past game that we didn't do as well as we would have liked to," Frazier said. "I think that everyone is motivated to take a look at that [UCF] game. You know, it's great to win and it's nice to win to build confidence and things like that, but we all really recognize there are things we still need to improve.

"I think we're just building off the previous game. It's like, ‘Alright, we did well here and we did well there. We just need to fix this and improve on that.' It's a week-by-week thing."

One area that continues to improve among the Cougar defenders leading up to the Utah State game is the quality of defensive chemistry. Here is where the biggest gains have been made among the Cougar defenders, and F

"I feel like our defense is coming together more and everybody trusts each other more," Frazier said. "Also, everybody knows their assignments better and is more sound in their responsibilities."

Cornerback Joe Sampson agrees with Frazier's assessment.

"Yeah, I definitely feel that the defense is progressing," Sampson said. "We have all the talent and we're continuing to play together like a family. We're playing for each other and that makes you play a lot harder than if you're just out there playing for yourself."

As BYU heads in to Friday's contest with the Aggies, Frazier feels the team that Utah State will field will be a very competitive one. Having lost to Utah State last year, the Cougars have some payback to give.

"It's going to be a really good game and they beat us last year, so they know it's possible," Frazier said. "I feel like it's really going to be a hard-fought battle. We're feeling pretty good too right now. I think it's going to be good."

Keys to victory

#1: Bottle up the run

The Cougars have to stop featured weapon Robert Turbin and contain the legs of quarterback Chuckie Keeton. If the Cougars can bottle up the run and force the freshman quarterback to pass, it's going to be a long night for the Utah State offense.

#2: Run the ball

The Aggie defense has switched over from a 4-3 scheme to more what BYU is now doing defensively. Here is a chance for BYU's big offensive line to assert itself in the run game.

#3: No turnovers/mental mistakes

As seen in the BYU vs. Utah game, as well as the USU vs. CSU game, turnovers can do a team in. The Cougar offense has to take care of the ball and not afford a pesky Aggie team, which is looking for a repeat victory performance against BYU, more opportunities to score. Coming off a tough loss, Utah State will have nothing to lose and will have a chip on their shoulders. Much like Utah, the Aggies will try and gash BYU with big plays. The Cougar defense has to play disciplined and not allow Utah State to exploit them for big plays, especially if BYU's offense continues to struggle.

Final score prediction

BYU 31, Utah State 10

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