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Aggies' QB has promise

LOGAN — Utah State quarterback Leon Jackson III has yet to put up spectacular numbers through the first two games of the Aggies' football season, but what he has done is shown signs that one could come in the near future.

Jackson, a redshirt sophomore who made his first career start this year, rushed for 87 yards in the Aggies season-opening loss at Utah, which was tops in the Western Athletic Conference.

The lefthander, however, completed just 12 of 25 passes for 95 yards with no touchdowns and one interception.

Two weeks later in the Aggies' 31-24 home-opening victory over UNLV, Jackson completed 19 of 25 passes for 212 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. While running the ball he had 13 carries (five fewer carries than he had at Utah) for just 24 yards.

"He's getting better and better every week and he'll continue," Utah State coach Brent Guy said. "He's only a sophomore with two starts. We've got to remember that about Leon and not expect him to be Anthony Calvillo, yet."

That's quite a comparison, seeing that Calvillo is fifth in school history in yards passing (5,642), completions (448), attempts (829) completion percentage (.540) and fourth in touchdown passes (35).

All the quarterbacks ahead of him in most categories except for one played more than two seasons.

"He's not that guy yet, but he's going to be a very good quarterback with time," Guy said. Calvillo is in the middle of a great professional career with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.

He was named the CFL's Most Outstanding Player in 2003 and was the East Division's Most Outstanding Player in 2002, 2003, and 2004. He was also named the Most Outstanding Player of the 2002 Grey Cup.

Last year he was only the fourth player in CFL history to throw for more than 6,000 yards with 6,041. He also had 31 touchdown passes.

One year earlier he threw for 5,891 yards and 37 touchdowns.

Calvillo played at Utah State in 1992, 1993 during Guy's first coaching job at Utah State.

Jackson is expected to make his third straight start Saturday when the Aggies open up Western Athletic Conference play at the University of Idaho. The game kicks at 3 p.m.

HONORING FALLEN AGGIES: The football team will wear a 1 1/2-inch blue circular sticker with a yellow block "A" on the back of their helmets to honor the instructor and eight students killed and two injured in a van accident on Monday.

Killed were: Evan Parel Parker (instructor); Dusty Dean Furhman; Jonathan Daniels Jorgensen; Curt A. Madsen; Ryan Wayne McEntire; Justin W. Gunnell; Bradley G. Wilcox; Steven D. Bair and Justin Huggins.

The team will wear the sticker beginning Saturday at Idaho and will wear it for the remainder of the season.

PENNYMAN HONORED: Utah State wide receiver/kick returner Tony Pennyman was named the Western Athletic Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for his play in the Aggies' 31-24 victory over UNLV.

Pennyman, a junior, had 133 kick off return yards, including a 92-yard touchdown run. He also had a career-high 10 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown.

INTERESTING MARK: The Aggies were called for a questionable pass interference call deep in their own territory Saturday. Instead of marking off the 15 yards allowed by rule, the WAC crew marked off 25 yards.

"I was so livid I didn't even catch that one," Guy said.

In professional football, a pass interference call is marked at the spot of the infraction, but not in college.

Later in the game, the Aggies were called with an illegal participation penalty (12 men on the field), but the official who threw his flag did so way after the play was over. He didn't start counting the USU players until they were running off the field following the play.

Generally, the official will count the players as they are lining up for the punt.

WRONG CALL, GOOD RESULT: Kevin Robinson rushed for a 19-yard touchdown on a reverse, but he later said it wasn't the play that was supposed to be called.

The call from the sideline was supposed to be a pass, but Jackson relayed a different play to the team.

"That wasn't supposed to be the play called, but it worked out so you are just happy that he called the wrong play and we scored," Robinson said.

On their next touchdown drive, the Aggies ran the play that was supposed to be called instead of the reverse and it turned out to be a 15-yard reception from Jackson to Robinson for what was the game-winning touchdown.


E-mail: jhinton@desnews.com