LOGAN, Utah – In its annual Spring Football Game, held Saturday afternoon on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium, the Utah State team posted a 38-14 win against the Aggies team.
However, the spring game was just a small part of the weekend, as head coach Gary Andersen welcomed back nearly 300 alumni, which included numerous current and former NFL players such as Chris Cooley, Greg Kragen, Nevin Lawson, Phil Olsen, Donald Penn, Al Smith, Robert Turbin and Bobby Wagner, among others.
“It’s real special for all of those NFL guys to come back,” said Andersen. “For them to be able to come back and be a part of this was awesome. A lot of those guys are leaving here and driving down to Salt Lake and getting on an airplane and going to OTAs (organized team activities). They could have had two or three more days to spend with their families and do what they were doing in the offseason, but they came here. The event last night was special. It was four hours of great opportunities to reconnect and be around those guys.
“Our kids have great respect for all of those NFL guys that came back, and our players learn valuable lessons when they are around us for just a few hours. I just say thank you and hopefully we can continue doing it.”
As for Saturday’s scrimmage, junior Jordan Love again showed why he is regarded as one of the top quarterbacks not only in the Mountain West, but the nation.
In all, Love threw two touchdown passes in limited playing time Saturday, as he connected with junior wide receiver Savon Scarver on an 11-yard completion and later with redshirt freshman wide receiver Sam Lockett on a 12-yard completion. Senior running back Gerold Bright also scored on a 1-yard run, while freshman running back Enoch Nawahine found the end zone following a 6-yard run.
“The offense put up a lot of points today, which is what we do, so today was a good day,” said Love. “We have a lot of playmakers on the field, so it is my job to try and get them the ball. The faster we can play the more it is going to wear on defenses.”
Other offensive highlights Saturday included sophomore quarterback Henry Colombi, who also had a pair of touchdown passes during the scrimmage, as he completed a 6-yard pass to junior wide receiver Derek Wright and later found senior wide receiver Devin Heckstall on a 5-yard completion.
“We competed and one team was obviously stacked with personnel to beat the other team and that was reflected on the scoreboard,” Andersen said. “We stayed healthy for the most part, they had a lot fun and competed like crazy, and there were a lot of plays made out there. The playmaking at the wide receiver position was good today. We saw some big plays, some yards after catch, and some fantastic catches in the end zone, and they were all contested balls, so that is good to see.
“I thought the first offensive line protected the passer well and I thought the first defensive line got after the passer well, so those were good things to see. I’m really proud of the way these kids have competed over the first 13 practices.”
Defensively, junior safety Braxton Gunther returned an interception 70 yards and also had a sack during the scrimmage, while senior defensive end Tipa Galeai added two sacks. Junior safety Troy Lefeged Jr. also had an interception, while fellow junior safety Cash Gilliam forced a fumble that was recovered by redshirt freshman linebacker Dustin Mathews. Other Aggies who recorded sacks during the scrimmage included senior defensive tackle Devon Anderson, senior defensive end Jacoby Wildman and redshirt freshman linebacker Elijah Shelton.
“This spring was a good learning experience for our defense and very productive for all of us,” said Galeai. “The thing I like about our defense is we get the chance to make plays and our coaches are always putting us in the right positions to make those plays, which gives us a lot of opportunities.”
Utah State will officially conclude spring camp next week with a pair of closed practices.
Utah State returns nine starters (O-2, D-7) as part of 35 letterwinners (O-15, D-18, S-2), including two All-Americans and eight players that earned various all-Mountain West honors, from last year’s team that ended the season ranked 21st in the final Amway Coaches poll and 22nd in the final AP poll as it tied the school record for wins and best record with an 11-2 mark following its 52-13 win against North Texas in the New Mexico Bowl. USU also tied for first place in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West with a 7-1 record.
Utah State will open the 2019 season on Friday, Aug. 30, at Wake Forest and begin its home season the following weekend against Stony Brook on Saturday, Sept. 7. Mountain West play begins for USU two weekends later at San Diego State on Saturday, Sept. 21, while its first conference home game will be against Colorado State on Saturday, Sept. 28.
For Aggie football ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the “Buy Tickets” tab at www.UtahStateAggies.com.