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Utah State Football: Aggies wary of both BYU quarterbacks
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated.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.

Logan • This time, it's better to prepare for two quarterbacks than to be caught off-guard.

That lesson was learned the hard way last year by Utah State. The Aggie defense put all of its pregame preparation into defending Jake Heaps, only to be burned by Riley Nelson, who led a fourth-quarter BYU comeback.

On Friday night, USU will be ready for both Nelson and Taysom Hill, the hotshot freshman with speed and athleticism to spare. The two are similar, sure. But there will be differences.

"Both are good quarterbacks," Utah State coach Gary Andersen said. "Both can run very well, and the offense doesn't change drastically with either one of them."

That could work out well for the Aggies. Last season, Nelson's mobility presented a big problem during the rally, mostly because the defense was used to Heaps, who stayed mostly in the pocket.

As much as Nelson has run through and around people, Hill has shown himself to be perhaps an even better athlete. The rookie turned heads with his performance in a blowout win last week over Hawaii.

BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall has announced Nelson as the starter for Friday's matchup, although Hill has taken most of the snaps in the first few days of practice this week. Hill has proven he isn't a typical freshman, showing a lot of poise for a first-year player.

"I saw him last week and he's very good," senior safety McKade Brady said. "He moves very well and he's obviously very good running the ball. He can take a negative play and turn it into a big play very quickly."

Coming of age

Senior receiver Chuck Jacobs had the best game of his Utah State career against UNLV, going over 100 yards receiving. He's looking to continue that against the Cougars.

"I felt good when I first woke up," Jacobs said. "I just wanted to carry that momentum over and make some plays."

Is this the end?

Andersen flatly said he wants a home-and-home series against BYU, instead of the previous 2-for-1 deal. Citing his program's improvement — and a win over BYU two seasons ago in Logan — Andersen said playing at LaVell Edwards Stadium is difficult to do.

"We go to very difficult venues," Andersen said. "But none of them match up with BYU or Utah's stadiums."

tjones@sltrib.com

Whether it's Nelson or Taysom Hill, USU says it will be ready.
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