LOGAN, Utah – In its annual Spring Football Game, held Saturday afternoon on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium, Utah State’s offense posted a 53-46 win against the Aggie defense.
With a special scoring system in place, the offense got seven points for a touchdown and extra point, three points for a field goal and one punt for a punt inside the 10-yard line. The defense earned seven points for a touchdown, five points for a turnover, three points for forcing a four-and-out with no punt, three points for a traditional three-and-out with a punt, two points for a defensive stop after the initial first down and two points for a safety.
Despite a strong start from the Aggie defense, earning stops on each of the first six possessions of the game, the offense got rolling in the second quarter to regain the lead. With the game tied at 46-46 and time left for one final possession, the USU offense moved down the field on a seven-play, 65-yard drive, capped off by a 1-yard rushing touchdown by junior running back Cooper Jones to take the win.
“Clearly the defense started out better than the offense, I’m proud that they responded and likewise that the defense found a way to create some turnovers at the end,” said Utah State first-year head coach Blake Anderson. “I really can’t win today, I’m going to be mad at somebody either way. I didn’t like the turnovers, but the energy was good. The kids have been phenomenal all spring. We’re pushing them and asking a lot of them, but they’re just coming back every day with great attitudes, so I’m really pleased.”
In total, the Utah State offense produced 659 yards (382-passing, 277-rushing) and scored seven touchdowns in the nearly 100-play scrimmage, while committing two turnovers.
Junior quarterback Andrew Peasley led the way in the passing game for the Utah State offense, finishing 16-of-24 for 234 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Sophomore quarterback Cooper Legas took the majority of the remaining quarterback reps, going 11-of-16 for 132 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think we finished really well. The last drive had a lot of energy, and overall, I thought it was pretty good,” Peasley said. “All of the quarterbacks did pretty well. Monday we’ll come in and evaluate what we did and get better.”
Other offensive highlights included senior wide receiver Deven Thompkins, who had a game-high 121 receiving yards on six receptions, including touchdown receptions of 59 and nine yards. Graduate wide receiver Brandon Bowling also hauled in six receptions, totaling 44 yards. Other receivers to catch touchdowns included sophomore Kyle Van Leeuwen from 39 yards, fellow sophomore Quinton Hadnot from 37 yards, and junior Calvin Tyler Jr. from 15 yards. In the running game, Jones led the way with 94 yards and one touchdown on 10 carries. Sophomore running back John Gentry scored on a 21-yard run, while carrying the ball 11 times for 72 yards.
Defensively, the Aggies recorded two interceptions, five sacks, 15 tackles for a loss and five pass breakups. Junior safety Dominic Tatum and junior cornerback Jaden Smith each had interceptions, while Tatum also recorded a team-best nine tackles on the day. Senior linebacker Kevin Meitzenheimer and senior safety Shaq Bond each recorded seven tackles, and freshman defensive tackle Seni Tuiaki had a team-best three tackles for a loss.
“Today I think the defense played pretty great, we were flying around to the ball,” Bond said. “We had a few missed tackles that we have to clean up on, but overall, I think we got to the ball well today.”
Utah State will open the 2021 season on Saturday, Sept. 4, at Washington State and begin the home portion of its season the following weekend against North Dakota on Saturday, Sept. 11. Mountain West play begins for USU one weekend later at Air Force on Saturday, Sept. 18, while its first conference home game will be against Boise State on Saturday, Sept. 25.
Season ticket renewals are currently being accepted. To renew, fans should visit www.utahstateaggies.com or do so in person or by phone through the USU Ticket Office during regular business hours (435-797-0305). New season ticket orders can also be made at this time.
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