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Steve Luhm and Lya Wodraska
Steve Luhm and Lya Wodraska cover Utah State athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. Lya Wodraska is on twitter at @LyaWodraska, Steve Luhm is on twitter at @sluhm

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Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton, right, carries the ball against Air Force during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013, in Air Force Academy, Colo. Utah State won 52-20. (AP Photo/The Gazette, Kent Nishimura) MAGAZINES OUT
Utah State's Chuckie Keeton gaining more buzz after Air Force

Colorado Springs After putting up 437 yards of total offense and throwing five touchdowns, quarterback Chuckie Keeton didn't want to talk about his burgeoning, school-backed campaign for the Heisman trophy that's become all the buzz in Logan.

He wanted to talk about his mistake: his interception, his first of the season.

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"If I had kept that drive alive," he said, "it could have been six."

But after a 52-point output from Utah State's offense and another big game from the junior, his teammates and coaches were willing to talk about what he did on the field rather than what he missed.

Early in the season, Keeton has impressed. He followed up a three-touchdown, 399-yard night against Utah with a takedown of one of the Mountain West's most thorny early opponents. And he did it with style, throwing touchdown passes of 30, 23, 20 and 36 yards among his scores on Saturday at Falcon Stadium.

The day after the games, the NCAA reshuffled its stats and Keeton is now No. 3 in total offense in the nation: Higher than Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel or Aaron Murray.

He was named a College Sports' Madness honorable mention for national quarterback of the week, and also earned a bevy of other recognition on Monday: a Manning Award Star of the Week, an honorable mention for the weekly Davey O'Brien award, and the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose player of the week. CBS Sports and Sports Illustrated were among publications who took note of his performances, with CBS using the phrases "dark horse" and "Heisman contender" to describe him.

As a small school candidate, he's still a long shot. But I hasn't stopped his Utah State teammates from talking him up.

"You look at any of the quarterbacks they have listed in the Heisman and put their numbers up to Chuck, his numbers are there as well," receiver Travis Reynolds said. "He probably wouldn't get the respect, but I feel like based off of Chuckie's production, they should look toward him being in the Heisman race."

Matt Wells didn't comment specifically on the Heisman campaign - which now consists of trading cards and an official website - but said he's been more than pleased with Keeton's early efforts.

"There's going to be a lot of milestones if he keeps playing well," he said. "The kid deserves everything coming his way. He's very humble. He continues to work hard. He continues to process the information that we give him, and his successes will continue to lead to those honors and those awards."

— Kyle Goon


Twitter: @kylegoon

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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