Defense outshines offense in final USU football scrimmage

<span>LOGAN – The Utah State defense outplayed the offense nearly the entire Blue-White Scrimmage on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium Saturday. The white defensive teams defeated their blue offensive counterparts 59-39 in a game with a special scoring system that allowed both units to score based on their performance on each play.</span>

<span>”We got out healthy and it was competitive,” USU head coach Matt Wells said after the scrimmage that concluded spring practices. “We got a little sloppy at times when we started subbing, and that’s not usually us, but the goal was to get in and get out.</span>

<span>”I thought we threw the ball well. I thought the D-Line did a really nice job. Those front seven on defense, I keep saying this, give us a tough time in running the ball. We’re pretty good up front. We’ll see how good come the end of August and September.”</span>

<span>The most exciting play of the game came when redshirt-freshman linebacker Nick Vigil recovered a fumble and returned it all the way to the 3-yard line before being tackled by backup quarterback Craig Harrison.</span>

<span>Linebacker La’Bradford Harold and cornerback Tay Glover-Wright each recorded interceptions against a somewhat suspect passing performance from the USU quarterbacks. Junior Chuckie Keeton was 15-of-29 in his passing attempts and threw one of the two interceptions. Harrison threw the other interception while completing 13-of-28 passes.</span>

<span>”There were some picks and turnovers. I think that’s good,” Wells said. “It shows we’re around the ball. On the flipside, on the offense, we’ve got to get hands down and some of the timings right from the quarterback perspective. But you know what? That’s ball.”</span>

<span>In the receiving corps, Brandon Swindall, Travis Van Leeuwen and Travis Reynolds all had several catches for good yardage. Van Leeuwen was the lone member of the team with a touchdown as he caught a pass in the corner of the endzone from Keeton. One of the more pleasantly-surprising performances of the afternoon came from Junior tight end Jefferson Court. Court had 24 yards on four catches. Despite dropping several passes, the receivers did earn some compliments from Coach Wells.</span>

<span>”(Van Leeuwen) made some good catches,” Wells said. “He continues to do some good things, we just need to be a lot more consistent in some of those areas. (Brandon Swindall) showed up again today, he flashed. I just saw you all nod your heads, so obviously I saw the same thing you are. Brandon Swindall has earned himself a role to play for us in the fall and I’m very happy with him.”</span>

<span>Senior Joey DeMartino stuck out among the running backs as he tallied 100 yards on 16 carries including one 21-yard scamper. Junior running back Joe Hill was less effective with only 28 yards on eight carries.</span>

<span>”Joey has done a nice job of establishing a role for himself,” Wells said. “He’s done a nice job on special teams. As a senior, the light is turned on and really clicking for him. I’m proud of him.”</span>

<span>All former USU lettermen were invited to come back and be a part of the spring game experience. Among the former Aggies on the sidelines were current Seattle Seahawks Robert Turbin and Bobby Wagner.</span>

<span>”He’s like my big brother,” DeMartino said of Turbin. “Ever since I got here he’s been helping me out, always showing me the right way to do things. He taught me how to be an Aggie. He really helped me change myself even more as a person than as a football player. He’s always helping and willing to make us better. He’s a great leader to me.”</span>

<span>Coming off their most successful season in school history, the teams will look to continue their winning ways as they begin play in the Mountain West Conference this fall.</span>

<span>”It was a great game on both sides of the ball,” DeMartino said. “Both sides came out ready to play. It was a physical day today and everybody worked their techniques a lot. It was cool just because Aggies were taking care of Aggies. There were a lot of open shots people could have taken, but we respect our teammates and don’t hit them when they’re defenseless. It was just a great day for Aggie football.”</span>


Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!