Impact players to watch in Friday night's BYU-USU game (6 items)
LOGAN — BYU and Utah State have met on the football field more than 80 times since the very first game in October 1922. The latest installment in the battle for the Old Wagon Wheel trophy is scheduled in Logan tonight. This game could be a make-or-break game for each teams’ success for the remainder of this season.
Coaches often say things such as “football is a game of inches” or “the game will probably come down to one or two plays.” While most fans think those are just clichés, there is no doubt that some players have the capability to alter the outcome of the game based on their individual performances.
Here is a look at some of the players that could impact the game:
Landon Walters is a history and political science major at Salt Lake Community College. He is an avid sports fan and loves writing. Email: email@example.com
1 of 6. Chuckie Keeton
Last year, the BYU defense held Keeton in check en route to a 6-3 win in Provo. If he is able to get away from the Cougar front seven and make plays with both his arms and his legs — as anyone who has watched him play knows he is capable of — he could be a big reason that the Aggies win at Romney Stadium.
2 of 6. Kyle Van Noy
He currently leads the team in total tackles with 29 through four games. He also has registered one sack, three pass breakups and nine quarterback hurries. Van Noy will be instrumental in coach Bronco Mendenhall’s game plan, both in blitzing and in coverage. He has also delivered some big hits during his Cougar career, which could affect the play of the USU offensive players. If the Aggie offensive line can’t block Van Noy effectively, he could end his BYU career with three wins against the Aggies.
3 of 6. Travis Van Leeuwen
This season, Van Leeuwen is one of Keeton’s favorite and most reliable targets. With 21 catches for 287 yards and one touchdown, he is on pace to have more catches and yards than his previous three years combined. Look for the BYU secondary to try to contain the Timpview High product. If they are unable to do so or if they lose track of #7, a big play is always possible.
4 of 6. Jamaal Williams
Assuming the reports of Williams returning to the field after his injury are true, expect him to be featured prominently as he was against Virginia and Texas. The Aggie defense is very good against the run, but Williams has the size, speed and athletic ability to gain stats and could possibly explode for a huge outing similar to games that he had as a true freshman last season. On top of his stats, he brings ball security to the Cougar running backs, which could be a huge factor in the turnover battle.
5 of 6. Sini Tauauve'a/Bill Vavau:
If these two can rotate throughout the game and keep pressure off of Keeton, it will be a big factor in the outcome of the game. If the pressure can get past these players, the Cougars may be able to contain and frustrate Keeton.