LOGAN, Utah – Utah State football held its final scrimmage of fall camp Saturday afternoon on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium as first-year head coach Blake Anderson continues to get his team ready for the season opener at Washington State on Saturday, Sept. 4.
“It has been two weeks of grinding and I thought we looked tired today,” said Anderson. “There was good and bad on both sides. We are not ready to play yet. We need time, and luckily, we have a little bit more of it. The days are going by quick. We will get back to work on Monday and see if we can get better this week.”
Offensively, Utah State generated 452 yards of total offense with 311 through the air and 141 on the ground. Once again sophomore wide receiver Kyle Van Leeuwen shined as he caught four passes for 81 yards, including three touchdowns.
For the second-straight scrimmage, Utah State played three quarterbacks. Graduate junior Logan Bonner, a transfer from Arkansas State, was 14-of-25 passing for 194 yards and two touchdowns, while junior Andrew Peasley was 7-of-14 for 38 yards and one touchdown, and sophomore Cooper Legas was 3-of-7 for 76 yards and one touchdown.
Peasley added 34 rushing yards on six carries for the offense, including a pair of touchdown runs from 21 and 11 yards, while graduate junior Calvin Tyler Jr., a transfer from Oregon State, carried the ball 10 times for 30 yards and also scored twice. Sophomore Elelyon Noa rushed for 39 yards on 10 carries with one touchdown, fellow sophomore John Gentry carried the ball 15 times for 34 yards, and graduate senior Devonta’e Henry-Cole rushed for 34 yards on 12 carries.
Following a three-and-out by the Aggie defense on the first drive of the scrimmage, USU’s offense responded with a 3-play, 65-yard drive that culminated in a 51-yard pass from Legas to Van Leeuwen. The Aggie offense then scored nine touchdowns on various red zone scenarios and wrapped up the scrimmage on a 1-yard touchdown run by Tyler that capped a 4-play, 40-yard drive.
“The offense played pretty well,” said Van Leeuwen. “There are things that we need to continue to work on and fine-tune, but it helped being able to be in the red zone and score some touchdowns today, since we didn’t get that opportunity last week. We have the potential to be very dangerous, we just have to keep on improving every day.”
Defensively, Utah State created one turnover on the day on a fumble recovery by freshman defensive end Enoka Migao. Aggie defenders added 4.0 sacks and 16.0 tackles for loss, to go along with eight pass breakups.
Junior safety Dominic Tatum led the defense with eight tackles and two pass breakups, while graduate senior linebacker Justin Rice, a transfer from Arkansas State and graduate junior safety Hunter Reynolds, a transfer from Michigan, each had six stops. Rice added 1.0 sacks and 4.0 tackles for loss on the day, while Reynolds recorded 1.0 tackles for loss. Junior safety Monte McGary, a transfer from Troy, added a team-best three pass breakups, while senior safety Shaq Bond and junior defensive end Patrick Joyner Jr., a transfer from Miami, both notched multiple tackles for loss.
“Offensively, we were sloppy with our snaps and sloppy with penalties, and we had a couple of drops,” added Anderson. “The good thing is we didn’t turn the ball over like we did a week ago and you have a chance to stay in games if you protect the ball.
“Defensively, we played well early. We didn’t do a great job in a couple of our situations – our goal line was poor and we need to get the offense off the field in the four-minute drill, but we finished with a good two-minute stop.”
Utah State will open the 2021 season on Saturday, Sept. 4, at Washington State, and begins its home season the following weekend against North Dakota on Friday, Sept. 10. Mountain West play begins for USU the following weekend at Air Force on Saturday, Sept. 18.