USU football: Aggie defense controls first scrimmage of fall camp Saturday morning

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, Aug. 12 2012 7:12 p.m. MDT

Utah State’s defense provided most of the highlights during the team’s first scrimmage of fall camp Saturday morning on Merlin Olsen Field inside Romney Stadium with five interceptions and nine sacks as the team practiced for nearly two hours with an estimated 105 snaps of the football.

Offensively, Utah State scored three touchdowns and added a field goal as sophomore running back Joe Hill had 100 yards rushing on 17 carries with one touchdown, while sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton was 11-for-17 passing for 113 yards. Keeton had two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Utah State’s defense controlled the early portion of the scrimmage as it held the Aggies’ offense to just five yards during its first four series, culminating in a 33-yard interception return by senior cornerback Will Davis.

Other Aggies with interceptions Saturday included one each by senior cornerback Jumanne Robertson, senior safety McKade Brady, freshman cornerback Devin Centers and junior safety Cameron Sanders, who returned his pick 50 yards.

Utah State’s offense got going during its next series as junior running back Robert Marshall rushed for 31 yards on a fourth and one to set up a 7-yard touchdown run by Hill to cap a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive. During the nine-play drive, USU ran the ball eight times.

Freshman placekicker Brock Warren converted a 20-yard field goal on USU’s next possession as it stalled at the 3-yard line after covering 63 yards in nine plays.

Utah State’s other two scoring drives came from the arm of Keeton as he connected on a 50-yard pass to junior wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen on the first play of a series and later hit fellow junior wide receiver Travis Reynolds from 11 yards out to cap a 10-play, 50-yard drive.

Other standouts on the defensive side of the ball Saturday included senior defensive lineman Al Lapuaho and redshirt freshman linebacker Kyler Fackrell. They accounted for four of the team’s nine sacks with two apiece. Players with one sack during the scrimmage included sophomore defensive lineman Tevita Vaifoou, junior linebacker Zach Vigil, senior linebacker Forrest Dabb, junior cornerback Nevin Lawson and redshirt freshman linebacker La’Bradford Harold.

Utah State, which is entering its second week of fall camp, will hold its second two-a-day on Monday, Aug. 13 practicing from 9:15 to 11:15 a.m. and again from 4:55 to 6:25 p.m. USU will also have two-a-days on Wednesday and Friday next week, to go along with single practices Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Utah State's second and final scrimmage of fall camp will be on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 2 p.m. on Merlin Olsen Field inside Romney Stadium as part of Aggie Football Family Fun Day, which is sponsored by Macey's.

All practices during fall camp, which concludes on Saturday, Aug. 25, are open to the public.

For the first time since 1996, the Aggies will open a season with back-to-back home games, hosting a pair of in-state foes in Southern Utah on Thursday, Aug. 30 and Utah on Friday, Sept. 7. Both games are slated for 6 p.m. (MT) starts from Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium. The Aggies' game against Utah will be on ESPN2.

Season tickets and two-game packages can be purchased in person at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum weekdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Fans can also buy tickets over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1, or online at www.utahstateaggies.com/tickets.

Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on the USU football blog at usufootball.wordpress.com. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State UniversityAthletics.

Utah State Football Practice Dates, Times and Location

Mon., Aug. 13 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am / 4:55 - 6:25 pm (Practice Field)

Tues., Aug. 14 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am (Practice Field)

Wed., Aug. 15 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am / 4:55 - 6:25 pm (Practice Field)

Thur., Aug. 16 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am (Practice Field)

Fri., Aug. 17 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am / 4:55 - 6:25 pm (Practice Field)

Sat., Aug. 18 --- 2:00 pm FOOTBALL FAMILY FUN DAY, sponsored by Macy's

(Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium) --- Scrimmage #2

Mon., Aug. 20 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am / 3:55 - 5:25 pm (Practice Field)

Tues., Aug. 21 --- 2:40 - 4:40 pm (Practice Field)

Wed., Aug. 22 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am / 3:55 - 5:25 pm (Practice Field)

Thur., Aug. 23 --- 2:40 - 4:40 pm (Practice Field)

Fri., Aug. 24 --- 2:40 - 4:40 pm (Practice Field)

Sat., Aug. 25 --- 12:00 - 2:00 pm (Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium)

End of Camp

NOTE: All dates, times and locations subject to change.

Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.

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