Colorado Springs, Colo. • Saturday's business was good for Chuckie, Inc.
Parroting the words of co-offensive coordinator Kevin McGiven, Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton described himself as an arm of a successful company, saying, "The quarterback is just a distribution system."
The delivery and receiving elements of USU's operation worked nicely in a 52-20 defeat of Air Force at Falcon Stadium, as Keeton proved to be an equal-opportunity passer. As of five minutes into the third quarter, he had completed passes to 10 receivers. By the time he left the game early in the fourth period, his five touchdown passes had gone to five different players.
That happened "a little bit by design, a little bit that he's going through his reads," said USU coach Matt Wells. "He does what he's coached to do. If they give it to you, then he takes it."
The receivers took advantage of their chances, as Keeton completed 32 of 40 passes for 360 yards. "It's always fun a lot of receivers getting touches and Chuckie spreading the love around," Travis Reynolds said.
Keeton was upset with himself for throwing an interception late in the first half, but he remained remarkably accurate after going 31 for 40 in the season opener at Utah. Travis Van Leeuwen led USU with six catches for 70 yards, including a 30-yard touchdown on the Aggies' opening drive. Brandon Swindall and JoJo Natson added five catches each as USU's receiving corps continues to provide answers to a preseason question.
"Coming into the season, we had a lot of doubt because we lost some veterans," Reynolds said, "but I tell my guys to just keep your head up and be positive and do what you have to do whenever your time [comes]."
Keeton likes the wide distribution strategy because "there's no one receiver that a team can ever just target," he said.
Saturday's career highs and firsts
Travis Van Leeuwen • six catches
Brandon Swindall • five catches, 63 yards
Travis Reynolds • 59 yards
Keegan Andersen • three catches, 20 yards; first touchdown
Shaan Johnson • first catch (14 yards)
Ronald Butler • first catch (23-yard touchdown)