Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury in the first quarter and did not return. Keeton was 4 of 10 for 26 yards and a touchdown before leaving the game for good.
Aggies head coach Matt Wells did not know the severity of the injury, but after the game admitted, "it does not look good."
Hill was 17 of 31 for 278 yards and an interception and ran for 36 yards. Jamaal Williams ran for 79 yards on 14 carries for BYU and Justin Sorenson kicked a 27-yard field goal.
"I thought our offensive balance improved," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "I thought our execution also improved, and we took the ball away a few more times. So overall, progress and a good win."
Craig Harrison took over for Keeton and struggled, completing just 18 of 41 passes for 185 yards and a late touchdown. Keeton was on the sideline on crutches during the second half as the Aggies' nine-game home winning streak ended.
“It was obviously a tough night out there for us," said Wells. "We didn’t start out very good and it didn’t finish well. It wasn’t the script that we had written or planned. The one thing I liked was the fight in those kids. They fought, they didn’t give up, they didn’t quit. Right now we’re facing a lot of adversity."
Leading 17-7 at halftime, BYU struck quickly in the third quarter. Hill hit Matthews with a 6-yard fade pass to the corner of the end zone early in the quarter, and Matthews then hauled in a 43-yard pass with 5:52 left in the quarter to make it 31-7.
“It was just a matter of time and our staff and players coming together and getting adjusted to what we’re doing this year offensively," Mendenhall said of the performance of the offense. "I think [Hill] has made progress every game, and I thought he had a strong game this evening.”
BYU scored on the first play from scrimmage when Van Noy grabbed Keeton's pass at the line of scrimmage and ran 15 yards untouched for a touchdown. Just moments later, Utah State stripped Hill of the ball, with Brian Suite recovering the fumble. Three plays later, Keeton found Travis Van Leeuwen with a 7-yard TD pass.
The Cougars took a 17-7 halftime lead after Hill found Matthews for a 30-yard touchdown pass with 10:40 to play in the second quarter.
Van Noy's score was only the third time in 22 games that Utah State had allowed a first-quarter touchdown, dating to the 2011 season. It was Keeton's second interception of this season.
”We really focused on the ball not being able to go around us or over the top of us, and we’re willing just to be patient, and then try to knock as many balls down as possible on the quick game and Kyle started that right from the beginning which was an awesome start," Mendenhall said. "We got a chance to play a lot of players, which is fun especially toward the end."
BYU (3-2) next hosts Georgia Tech, while Utah State (3-3) returns to Mountain West Conference play at home against Boise State.
"We’re going to have to find a way to regroup," Wells said. "The bottom line is this we’re 2-0 in the Mountain West Conference. To find a way to compete for that championship we’re going to have to regroup and win as a team. This is the greatest team sport ever invented and not one kid can win it. We’ve said that in this program that we’re not a bunch of individuals and we’re not about one kid. We’re about to find out if we are or not.”