On Wednesday, Utah State announced that Chuckie Keeton will likely miss the remainder of the 2014 season with a knee injury. With this announcement, sophomore Darell Garretson will now get the start at quarterback.
This is the third time in his career that Chuckie will miss the majority of the season due to injury. In 2011, Keeton suffered a concussion against Hawaii and missed the remainder of the season. Last year, he tore his ACL and MCL against BYU and missed the 2nd half of the season.
What does this mean for the Aggies?
Keeton has been recognized as one of the best dual threat quarterbacks in the nation. He broke single-season records in 2012 for touchdown passes, passing yards, total offensive yards, completions and completion percentage. He also tied the school record for rushing yards in a game by a quarterback against then 18th-ranked Louisiana Tech back in November 2012.
With Keeton out, the Aggies lose some of their firepower on offense. Even though Garretson is a terrific passer in the pocket, he does not have the same speed as Chuckie when out of the pocket. But through the first eight game, Garretson has shown that he can sling the ball down the field. This could be very crucial against a very good BYU secondary this week and the season going forward.
Garretson was able to get the wins last year but a lot of that had to do with the defense, because taking a closer look at his numbers, they were not that impressive. Outside of beating up on a bad UNLV and Hawaii secondary where Garreston threw for 298 and 370 yards respectively, and in his other games he did not even crack 200 yards per game. His 10 touchdowns were nice but he also had seven interceptions.
To help the Aggies be successful they need Garretson to improve on his accuracy and his miscues. Getting the running game going will help with Joe Hill, but make no mistake this offense does take a step back without Keeton. Keeton added an extra layer with his elusiveness and ability to extend plays, but this also does not call for the Utah State season to come to a crashing thud. Getting to a bowl game and still even competing for the Mountain West title is still an attainable goal this year.