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Utah State football: Aggies break down on offense

Published September 15, 2012 10:57 pm

Utah State relies too often on quarterback to produce offense.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Madison, Wis. • Chuckie Keeton led Utah State in passing yards. The sophomore quarterback also led the Aggies in rushing yardage.

That's not a great sign for USU.

In a 16-14 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday night at Camp Randall Stadium, Keeton became the best — and too many times, the only — option offensively for his team. As a result, the Aggies struggled to score points and put together drives.

Too often, the offensive line struggled in pass protection, leaving Keeton running for his well-being and even causing him to limp off the field for a play. Too often, the offense struggled through three-and-outs, leaving the defense on the field far too long.

"We were not good on offense," USU head coach Gary Andersen said. "We didn't finish drives, we didn't convert on third down. We have to be better offensively. We just have to."

This is the second consecutive game that the offense has sputtered in large measure. Part of the issue is Utah and Wisconsin: Both teams were very good defensively. But penalties came back to hurt the Aggies again.

On the final drive, Kellen Bartlett was called for an offensive pass interference, a penalty that made Josh Thompson's missed field goal a much tougher attempt. On multiple possessions, a potential drive would be nullified by a hold or a false start.

And finally, the Aggies couldn't run the ball consistently between tackles. Kerwynn Williams had 16 rushes for 43 yards, while Keeton's 75 yards on the ground consisted mostly of scrambles after pass protection broke down.

"We'll go and figure out how to get better," Williams said. "We know that we're a better team than this. We just have to soak it in and then put it behind us."