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Utah State football: Backup Aggie quarterbacks struggle in loss to Boise State

Published: Saturday, Aug. 1 2015 3:45 a.m. MDT

Utah State's Joey DeMartino (28) gets hit by Boise State's Jeremy Loane (10) during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Logan, Utah. (John Zsiray, AP) Utah State's Joey DeMartino (28) gets hit by Boise State's Jeremy Loane (10) during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Logan, Utah. (John Zsiray, AP)

LOGAN — After a week of speculation about who would start at quarterback for Utah State against Boise State, USU head coach Matt Wells opted to stay with Craig Harrison on Saturday.

In his first career start, Harrison was able to move the ball a bit, but the offense still struggled overall without star quarterback Chuckie Keeton under center.

Harrison finished 7 of 17 for 105 yards and no touchdowns. The Aggies did not score in the first quarter for only the second time in their last 16 games. With Harrison at the helm, Utah State went three-and-out five times, and the Grantsville High School and Snow College product was replaced by Darrell Garretson on the Aggies' second drive of the third quarter.

Things did not go much better for Garretson.

Boise State's Dallas Burroughs (81) is tackled by Utah State's Cameron Sanders (2) during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Logan, Utah. (John Zsiray, AP) Boise State's Dallas Burroughs (81) is tackled by Utah State's Cameron Sanders (2) during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Logan, Utah. (John Zsiray, AP)

The Aggies went three-and-out on his first drive. On his second drive, the true freshman was able to connect with Travis Reynolds downfield for a 39-yard gain, but he was intercepted three plays later on a badly overthrown ball. Garretson had his moments, including leading a touchdown drive in the waning moments that was capped off by a 2-yard pass to Travis Van Leeuwen, but finished with a pretty similar stat line as Harrison, going 9 for 14 for 116 yards. Garretson did throw a touchdown, but was also picked off twice.

“Both quarterbacks did some good things,” Wells said. “Obviously we are not where we want to be with those guys. We will continue to coach them and they will need to play better.

Wells declined to name a starter for next week and said he will evaluate the game tape before deciding.

SELLOUT CROWD: There was a good amount of orange in the stands Saturday, but E.L. Romney Stadium was sold out for the third consecutive game. Utah State had never previously sold out three consecutive games or three games in a single season in the history of the stadium.

Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick (16) talks with coach Chris Petersen during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Logan, Utah, against Utah State. (John Zsiray, AP) Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick (16) talks with coach Chris Petersen during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013, in Logan, Utah, against Utah State. (John Zsiray, AP)

SPECIAL TEAMS CHANGES MOMENTUM: The Aggies had a wild finish in the first half. When it looked like Boise State was content to just kneel on the ball, Wells used his remaining timeouts to force a Bronco punt. The Aggies blocked the kick, but failed on two attempted passes into the end zone. Nick Diaz attempted a 29-yard field goal, but that was blocked as well.

“A touchdown there changes the whole momentum of the game,” Wells said. “We put two balls up in end zone and I think they were good calls, but we didn’t come down with them. Credit to them.”

INJURIES: Tight End D.J. Tialavea became the fourth USU offensive starter to be lost for the season because of an injury. The senior is having surgery on a broken bone in his foot next week. Starting running back Joey DeMartino saw limited snaps in the second half and was described by Wells as "dinged up."

Kraig Williams is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter @DesNewsKraig.

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