Keeton, Aggies can't beat Troy in Coliseum
Published: Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 23, 2013 23:09
LOS ANGELES — USC defended The Coliseum against Utah State 17-14 on Saturday in what USU head coach Matt Wells said was "an old-fashioned gladiator slugout."
"It's a close loss, but we're not going to go home and cry about it," the first-year head coach said.
Southern California kicker Andre Heidari made what became a game-winning 25-yard field goal in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter to give the Trojans a 17-14 lead.
The Aggies failed to score on any of its next three drives to win or tie the game.
Sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton had 179 passing yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air, but the notoriously-mobile junior ended with negative 15 yards rushing.
"I wish he would have played better in some areas, but that kid gives us a chance to win and we had a chance to win," Wells said of his quarterback.
It wasn't just Keeton who the Trojans stopped.
As a team, the Aggies would have had negative rushing yards in the first half, if it weren't for a 55-yard scamper by running back Joey DeMartino that led to USU's only touchdown of the half.
Penalties gave USU fits — 11 for 89 yards.
The Aggies finished with 106 total yards on the ground.
"We didn't win on third down, but sometimes you're not going to," said Aggie wide receiver Travis Reynolds. "We needed to win all the time on third downs."
USC opened the scoring with a 1-yard run to make it 7-0 in the first quarter. USU was poised to score on the next drive, but kicker Nick Diaz missed a 37-yard field goal off the right post.
The Aggies matched the score with 13:17 left in the second quarter on an 8-yard pass from Keeton to receiver Brandon Swindall.
Heidari missed a 46-yard field goal attempt with 10:14 to play in the third quarter, giving USU the ball on the 28-yard line. The miscue gave the Aggies life, as Keeton marched the offense down the field and capped off the 72-yard drive with a 10-yard pass to senior Reynolds to tie the game at 14 with 6:51 in the third quarter.
USC was led by running back Tre Madden, who had 93 yards and a touchdown on 24 attempts, and quarterback Cody Kessler, who went 13-for-27 with 164 yards and a touchdown.
"We still have every goal ahead of us that we want to play for," Wells said, mentioning the team's desire to win the Mountain West Conference championship.