LOGAN – Kent Myers seems to know how to start things off right. The Utah State quarterback has unexpectedly stepped into the starting spot two seasons in a row, and he did it both times in record-breaking fashion.
Last season, as a true freshman, he got his first start at Hawaii after the three quarterbacks in front of him, one by one, fell to injuries. He came into the game unproven, no one really knowing what to expect. He ended up breaking a school record for completion percentage by hitting his target 14-of-15 times for 186 yards and three touchdowns. It gave Aggie fans a 35-14 win to celebrate and renewed hope for a season many worried was lost to injuries. Myers went on to win 5-of-6 games as a starter, including a bowl victory against UTEP.
This year, so far, has been a similar story. After starting quarterback Chuckie Keeton was once again forced to sit out because of injury, Myers took over a 1-2 football team that had an offense statistically ranked 126-of-127 teams nationally. Not only did the now-sophomore quarterback lead his team to a 33-18 win over Colorado State, but once again he did it with jaw-dropping style. His 191 rushing yards broke the school record for most rushing yards in a single game by a quarterback, but Myers will be the first to tell you it wasn’t just him. He gave credit to his offensive line, coaches and other teammates for the performance as well. The accomplishment earned him the honor of being the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week.
Head coach Matt Wells said the honor was “well deserved” and that he’s proud of his quarterback. He said the fans may be surprised to see how much Myers has improved, but he’s not. Wells has watched Myers grow – both physically and figuratively – during the entire offseason until now.
“You could see him naturally progress, naturally get bigger and stronger,” he said. “He’s gotten bigger and gotten stronger, and continues to mature in this offense.”
Myers also noted his physical improvement from last year to this one and mentioned that he has gained 10 or 12 pounds, but said the biggest improvements are the mental ones he has made.
“Last year with me being on scout team and redshirting, you’re out of the picture on the offense and you’re kind of with the defense,” he said. “So I felt like I was with the defense. I was still in the quarterback meetings in the morning, but just trying to learn the playbook at the same time as playing is really hard, but now I just feel like I’m going out there playing the game full speed because I know the playbook and I have confidence that I know everything that I’m supposed to do.”
Even though Myers ran the ball for more yards than any quarterback in USU history Saturday, he is still not completely satisfied with his performance and is looking forward to improving even more.
“I’m not really satisfied with where I am, just that game,” he said about his performance against Colorado State. “Cause I know there’s a lot of passes I knew I should have made … I knew it was going to be a good rushing game, but I also thought it was going to be a better passing game as well. So I kind of want to get that together.”
It is still unclear when Keeton will be able to return, so for the time being – and probably the next two football seasons – Myers is expected to be “the guy.” That can be a lot of pressure for a sophomore who only has seven games as a starter under his belt, but Myers said he just tries to stay calm and trust his teammates to make up for what he lacks.
“If I ever get in trouble, I know certain people I can count on to go get the ball, for example Hunter Sharp,” he said. “If I get in trouble and somebody is coming, and I see him down field, I trust that if I throw it and I get hit and it’s a bad throw, he’ll come back and save me. If it’s about to be intercepted, he’ll play defense and knock it out of their hands, or come and make a good play.”
He also gets off-field support from Keeton, who spent his fair share of time as a starting freshman and sophomore quarterback.
“He’s always coaching me up and being hard on me,” Myers said. “He texted me after the game, and he’s hard on me just because he wants me to be great, so that made me happy that somebody is there for me.”
Myers said he is looking forward to seeing what more his team can continue to do, and there is plenty of time for more firsts. The Aggies sit at 1-0 in the conference standings and are hoping to bring home the school’s first Mountain West championship. If it is to be done, a large part of it will be on the arms and legs of the quarterback that has come off the bench two years in a row.