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Utah State romps to big win

LOGAN -- Obviously the F. in Stephen F. Austin doesn't stand for Football.

The Lumberjacks traveled all the way up from Nacogdoches, Texas, and all they got was a lousy 51-17 shellacking by a hungry Utah State team Saturday night at Romney Stadium.Don't be deceived by the final score, though. It wasn't that close. The Aggies thoroughly dominated the contest in raising their record to 1-1.

Before the Aggies cleared their bench and put in everybody but the water boys and the cheerleaders, they led 41-3 and had piled up 478 yards of total offense to mere 23 yards for the Lumberjacks through three quarters. The 34-point victory pretty much canceled out last week's 31-point loss to Georgia, although the Ags are a lot closer to Georgia than Stephen F. Austin is to USU.

It's not like Stephen F. Austin is a terrible program either. It has been ranked in the Division I-AA Top 20 for nine of the past 10 years and has made the Division I-AA finals once and the semifinals once. But they are obviously down a bit this year.

Despite starting the season with a 51-34 victory over Abilene Christian last week, SFA couldn't do much of anything against a fired-up Aggie defense that had something to prove after allowing 595 yards, their largest total in six years, last week.

The Lumberjacks finished with 247 yards, but more than 200 came in the final quarter against the Aggie scrubs.

"I'm very pleased with the defense," said USU coach Dave Arslanian. "Our defense was challenged all week and it was impor-

tant to come out and establish our-selves, which we did."

"We felt we needed to come out and make a statement," said linebacker Brent Passey, who made four tackles and intercepted a pass.

The Aggie offense looked sharp again as a balanced attack racked up 544 yards - 245 on the ground and 299 through the air. Jeff Crosbie completed 16 of 25 passes for 265 yards and four touchdowns, while Demario Brown rushed for more than 100 yards for the second straight week, gaining 135 yards on 21 carries. Aaron Jones followed up his 10-catch performance in Georgia last week with 11 catches for 188 yards and three touchdowns.

While the Aggies warmed up for next week's game at Utah with the easy victory, they went away with a few things to work on, like penalties and fumbles.

Before the first quarter was over, the Aggies had already piled up more penalty yards than last week at Georgia. For the game, they ended up with 11 penalties for 117 yards, including several personal foul calls.

Then there were the fumbles - five in all, including a lost fumble deep in their own territory that set up SFA's first score.

"We needed to come out fired-up with a high-energy level and maybe it was a little too high," said Arslanian.

By halftime the Aggies led 34-0 and had 297 yards of total offense to just 20 for the Lumberjacks. By late in the third quarter, Arslanian started substituting liberally and the Lumberjacks' fourth-quarter touchdowns came against the Aggies backups.

"It got a little ragged at the end, but we needed to get as many young guys in situations like this," said Arslanian.

The Aggies started slow and were up only 7-0 after the first quarter thanks to a 3-yard run by Brown. They added a pair of field goals by Brad Bohn from 32 and 49 yards out and then the avalanche of points began. In the final five minutes of the half Crosbie threw three touchdown passes

First Crosbie hit Jones with a 6-yard touchdown pass and after Passey intercepted a pass at the 12-yard line, Crosbie threw a 10-yard pass to Adrion Pierson.

Then after a short SFA punt, Crosbie hit Jones coming over the middle at the 20 and he turned it upfield into a 36-yard touchdown. That made up for his gaffe two plays earlier when he got behind the defense and dropped a pass that hit him on the hands.

USU started off the second half with a 65-yard scoring drive capped by another Brown 3-yard run.

The Lumberjacks finally got on the scoreboard late in the third quarter when Ted Woodard booted a 26-yard field goal. The score was set up when the Aggies fumbled at their own three-yard line. The Aggie defense stiffened and moved the Lumberjacks back four yards, making them settle for the field goal

Crosbie hooked up with Jones with a 46-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter to make it 48-3 before KaRon Coleman burst through the Aggie defense for a 63-yard touchdown scamper. Later some Aggie penalties aided SFA on another scoring drive, capped by a 2-yard touchdown pass from Wes Pate to Jay Stegall.

USU finished off the scoring with a 44-yard field goal by reserve kicker Dane Kidman.

AG NOTES: The win was the Aggies' largest since a 63-17 shellacking at Idaho in 1997 . . . The Aggies used four quarterbacks -- Logan Galli, Jose Fuentes and Steve Mullins, in addition to Crosbie . . . Former Ben Lomond star Emmett White looked good, rushing four times for 36 yards and returning a punt for 12 yards . . . Aggie defensive back Tony Walker saw his first action of the year at wide receiver, but didn't make a catch.