Utah State football completed its second spring scrimmage Friday evening on Merlin Olsen Field in Romney Stadium as fourth-year head coach Gary Andersen ran his team through 81 plays, including 64 offensive snaps and 17 special teams situations.
In all, Utah State’s offense scored three touchdowns and converted three field goals while the Aggie defense recorded two interceptions and turned USU’s offense away without any points on a red-zone scenario that started at the 12-yard line.
"Overall it was a good scrimmage,” said Andersen. “We stayed fairly healthy, which is always a positive for us. The defense started fast and the offense started slow, especially in the back-up drive-up scenarios. That kind of flip-flopped when we got up on the 50-yard line and the offense kind of answered back. As the scrimmage went on, it evened out. There was give and take on both sides, and that's kind of what you're hopeful for.”
Freshman linebacker Travis Parrish recorded the first highlight of the scrimmage on Utah State’s second series as he intercepted senior quarterback Adam Kennedy. USU then scored its first of three touchdowns courtesy of a 3-yard run by sophomore running back Joe Hill to cap a nine-play, 50-yard drive.
Utah State later scored touchdowns on back-to-back drives as junior running back Joey DeMartino scored from 27 yards out, followed by a 25-yard pass and catch from sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton to senior wide receiver Chuck Jacobs.
Overall, Keeton completed 9-of-13 passes for 98 yards with one touchdown, while Kennedy was 7-of-13 for 42 yards with one interception as USU finished the scrimmage 18-of-30 passing for 155 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
DeMartino was one of 10 Aggies to carry the ball Friday and finished the scrimmage with 50 yards on 10 carries, highlighted by his 27-yard scoring run. Hill added 22 yards on seven carries to go along with one score, while Keeton had 18 yards on three carries. In all, USU rushed 34 times for 143 yards with two scores.
On special teams, Utah State finished three drives with field goals as junior Nick Diaz connected from 45 yards out, while fellow junior Josh Thompson made a 34-yard attempt and sophomore Jacob Haueter was good from 30 yards. In all, USU’s kickers were 7-for-9 on field goal attempts and a perfect 3-for-3 on PAT’s.
"I'm real happy with the kickers this week, they’re striking it well, but I'm guarded when I say that. They know I'm guarded when I say that and I tell them the same thing. They're feeling more comfortable and confident, and the ball has been coming off their feet pretty well,” Andersen said.
Defensively, redshirt freshman linebacker Kyler Fackrell and sophomore linebacker Tavaris McMillian each had four tackles Friday, while fellow redshirt freshman linebacker Derek Keller and freshman lineman Jordan Nielsen added three stops apiece. Sophomore wide receiver Rashard Stewart, who has moved over to the defensive side of the ball, ended the scrimmage by intercepting a pass from freshman quarterback Daniel Wray.
Next week, Utah State is tentatively scheduled to practice Tuesday and Thursday mornings in final tune-up for the Blue-White Spring Game presented by Orbit Irrigation Products on Saturday, April 28, at 2 p.m. at Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium. Admission will again be free to the public and further details along with events surrounding the Spring Game will be released next week.
Practices are currently scheduled to be open to the public but are subject to change. When the Aggies are on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium, fans must remain in the stands at all times. When USU is in the Laub Indoor Facility, fans must remain in the opening by the doorway.
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