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Young Aggies may be the program's future

Utah's Spencer Toone tackles Aggie Ryan Bohm, who rushed 11 times for 56 yards and one touchdown.
Utah's Spencer Toone tackles Aggie Ryan Bohm, who rushed 11 times for 56 yards and one touchdown.
Bob Plumb, Deseret Morning News

Utah State's 31-7 season-opening loss to Utah was not only a view of the present Aggie football team, but also a glimpse of the future as well.

Five freshmen started for the Aggies; 10 others played.

Also, 14 sophomores, including five making their first starts, saw action.

In addition to the freshmen, four other newcomers contributed.

Only time will tell what the present and distant futures hold, but one thing is for certain, Utah State football coach Brent Guy isn't using youth as an excuse in the 24-point loss to the Utes. There was plenty of blame to go around.

"We had some older guy miss as many tackles and make as many mistakes as the young guys. I'm not going to blame the youth," he said.

The Aggies led 7-0 before two breakdowns — a fumble and a muffed punt — right before the half led to a pair of Utah touchdowns, and the Aggies would never recover.

"We need to be mentally stronger," freshman running back Ryan Bohm said. "We were in the game, and we played well for almost two quarters. They got a couple of big plays right at the end of the half and it shook us up.

"You could tell the momentum totally swung to their side, and we couldn't get it back in the second half."

Sophomore Leon Jackson III made his first start at quarterback and completed 12 of 25 passes for 95 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

He also had 18 carries for 87 yards, the most yardage in a game by a Utah State quarterback in 15 years.

"Leon did pretty good running the football. He took some shots and was productive," Guy said. "We have to do a better job of getting the ball to the right guy in the right check."

Bohm, who was playing his first game in four years, had 11 carries for 56 yards. He also had five receptions for 41 yards.

In the first half he rushed for 37 yards and had four catches, but the Aggies were forced to play catch up in the second half, and he was involved in the offense as much in the second half.

"Ryan ran the ball well and ran it hard," Guy said. "We didn't out the ball on the ground at the running-back position, so I'm please with that."

Marcus Crawford, a junior-college transfer who missed all of last season with a knee injury, rushed six times for 18 yards.

Chris Forbes, who led the team in rushing last year, didn't have a carry.

Freshmen linebackers Devon Hall and Jake Hutton started and recorded eight and six tackles, respectively, while freshman cornerback Marquis Charles had six tackles in his initial start.

Freshman Derek Hoke started on the offensive line.

Sophomore defensive end Brian Soi, in his first Division I game, recorded six tackles.