LOGAN, Utah — Utah State football wrapped up spring camp with their Blue vs. White Spring Game on Saturday. Under a different scoring scale than normal, the offense won 64 to 29.
The game had a different feel to it than the other scrimmages, primarily due to the hundreds of fans in attendance and also because of football alumni who attended the game.
Members of USU’s football royalty were there in preparations for the hall of fame induction ceremony later that day. Los Angeles Rams linebacker Bobby Wagner and Green Bay Packers quarterback Jordan Love headlined the pack. Love, head coach Blake Anderson, quarterback Logan Bonner and former wide receiver Siaosi Mariner were interviewed on the video board during the scrimmage.
After his interview, Bonner made his way up to a coaches’ booth and was on headsets during the game. Due to Bonner’s injury during the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl, he was ruled out for spring camp, but he has been at practices in a leadership role.
Unlike the last couple of scrimmages, the offense set the tone in the first drive. Quarterback Cooper Legas drove his squad 75 yards in 11 plays for the game’s first score, a one-yard shovel pass to running back Calvin Tyler, Jr.
Outside linebacker Anthony Switzer went down with an injury a few plays into the first drive. He appeared to hold his knee. Switzer was helped off the field by leaning on two guys while avoiding pressure on the injured leg.
“A little worried about Anthony Switzer,” Anderson said. “It honestly looks bad. I hope it’s not. Hopefully, we have time to get him well if it is.”
The defense’s front seven stepped things up in the ensuing drives. They recorded 10 tackles for loss. The defense also got to the quarterback with defensive tackle Hale Motu’apuaka, inside linebacker Kaleo Neves and safety Bronson Olevao recording sacks.
“We just play hard and that’s kind of the standard we need,” Motu’apuaka said. “We want to make it easier for the rest of the defense… We just want to go out there and just create havoc. That’s the main thing we do every time.”
The only turnover of the game came during the eighth drive. Inside linebacker Jaymason Willingham picked off quarterback Levi Williams. One turnover after the Aggies have had multiple in the prior spring scrimmages is a promising trend for the offense.
“They’ve done a good job for the most part at protecting the ball,” Anderson said. “I’ve been pleased in that sense. Protecting the ball is where it starts for us.”
The offense started pulling away after halftime. Their first score after the break was from wide receiver Otto Tia. On the 12th drive of the game, Williams found Tia for a 20-yard gain, but safety Luke Marion brought him down hard. In the next play, Tia broke free from Marion and got revenge with a 21-yard touchdown reception. Tia finished the day with two touchdowns and 60 yards on three receptions.
During the next drive, Legas aired it out to wide receiver NyNy Davis for a 51-yard touchdown. That was the largest gain for any Aggie during the game. Legas’s timing with the receivers has improved throughout spring camp.
“I’ve had a couple of underthrows throughout spring,” Legas said. “Just learning how fast these guys are… It’s pretty hard to overthrow them. You put it out there, they’ll go get it.”
Legas also had a deep pass to wide receiver Xavier Williams. In the 11th drive, they connected twice, once for 47 yards and another for 15.
Legas finished with three touchdowns and 276 yards on 13 completions in 19 attempts.
Tyler Jr. had a quiet day compared to his normal stats, but fellow running backs John Gentry and Pailate Makakona had highlight plays. Makakona recorded the second-longest rush of the day on an 18-yard gain. Gentry showed his agility and speed on a 35-yard reception, with most of the yardage coming after the catch.
Running backs further down the depth chart had big plays in the last few drives. Running back Cooper Jones went for 21 yards, which ended up as the longest rush of the game. He finished with 34 yards total.
Fellow running back Gerald Hanson broke off on a 31-yard reception. He also had 14 yards on the ground.
“It’s comforting knowing we have three, four, five running backs that can really make a difference,” Legas said. “It doesn’t matter who’s in there, we know we can run the ball. We know that they’ll be in protection for us. It’s cool. We have a really deep running back core for sure.”
Quarterback Garrett Larson had time to shine late in the game as well. He found tight ends Josh Sterzer and Cade Jensen for touchdowns. Larson totaled two touchdowns and 103 yards from six completions on 14 attempts.
“Those guys likely won’t touch the field in the fall in a meaningful game. This is their game,” Anderson said. “We wanted to create opportunities for them to play (with) parents in the stands and create some memories and I think we did that well and we did it safely.”
Possibly optimistic with what they have seen last season and in spring camp, three individuals are betting on Utah State to follow up their historic year with an unprecedented national title.
According to Caesars Sportsbook, three different bets of $1,000 have been placed on the Aggies to win the College Football Playoff. Anderson chuckled as he talked about it.
“I did hear the rumors,” Anderson said. “I appreciate their confidence. That’s a first. Good luck to them. That means we’d have to beat Alabama probably twice.”
With the end of spring camp, the Aggies have 125 days until they host Connecticut to open the 2022 season.