QB Keeton poses huge challenge for USC defense

LOS ANGELES – Chuckie Keeton is a problem.

If your name is being mentioned in Heisman conversations and you play your ball in Logan, Utah, you have to be doing something right.

Keeton, the reigning Mountain West Player of the Week out of Utah State (2-1, 1-0 Mountain West), is bringing his accolades and all of his game to the Coliseum on Saturday and poses the toughest challenge USC (2-1, 0-1 Pac-12) has faced defensively all season.

Keeton has thrown 12 touchdowns passes through three games, which is tied for most in the nation. USC head coach Lane Kiffin has even drawn comparisons to Russell Wilson.

On Saturday, he’ll be the first test for the USC defense this season in their handling of dual-threat quarterbacks, which they’re certain to see more of throughout the course of the season.

“The guy throws the ball really well and he takes off and runs it,” Kiffin said.

Keeton is the catalyst for an offense that is one of the most explosive in the country. Six of their 10 touchdown scoring drives last week in a 70-point effort over Weber State lasted less than two minutes.

The USC coaching staff has spent all week in the film room trying to explain to players just what they’re up against, despite what they may hear on the outside.
 
 “The concern always in a game like this is your players not understanding how good the other team is,” Kiffin said. “This is a really good team with a great quarterback.

“We’re going to have our hands full.”

The message seems to be getting across to his team.

“Its going to be a challenge,” linebacker Devon Kennard said. “They got talent all over the field. They got running backs and receivers who can really play well.”

Utah State enters the Coliseum averaging over 550 yards of total offense per contest, good for 12th in the country. USC’s defense, on the other hand, is only giving up 212.3 yards per game through three games, which is fourth in the country.

The goal with Keeton is to try to keep him in the pocket, but Kiffin knows this is a staunch challenge.

“This is not just some overachieving guys. This is a very talented group of players,” Kiffin said.