Utah State’s defense provided most of the highlights during the team’s first scrimmage of spring camp Friday afternoon on Merlin Olsen Field inside Romney Stadium with a safety and 12 tackles for loss by 12 different players, which included seven sacks, as the team practiced for nearly two hours with an estimated 100 snaps of the football.
“It was fun to get out. It was great weather and there was really good competition early,” third-year head coach Matt Wells said. “There was a lot of good give and take, actually. We ran the ball on offense pretty good on the perimeter.”
Offensively, Utah State scored five touchdowns and added two field goals, highlighted by senior QB Chuckie Keeton who was 11-of-18 passing for 173 yards and three touchdowns, including two scoring strikes to Hunter Sharp. The senior WR finished the day with four catches for 133 yards and a 42-yard touchdown reception on the last play of a two-minute drill to cap a seven-play, 70-yard drive.
“The two-minute drill was a plus for one team and a negative for another,” Wells said. “We haven’t done a tremendous amount of situational football until now, but it’s good to start getting them into that stuff. I love to practice situational stuff and we hit that a lot at the end of spring and all through training camp, so that was a learning situation for our first-team defense.”
Keeton also threw touchdown passes of 6 and 2 yards, respectively, to sophomore tight end Wyatt Houston and sophomore wide receiver Braelon Roberts.
Senior RB Rashad Hall led the Aggies ground game with 34 yards on seven carries, including a 9-yard touchdown run, while junior RB Devante Mays had 21 yards on 13 carries. Redshirt sophomore RB Tonny Lindsey scored the other rushing touchdown on a 5-yard run. Overall, USU rushed for 100 yards on 44 carries with two touchdowns.
Utah State’s two other scores came via the field goal as junior PK Brock Warren booted a 42-yard field goal, while fellow junior PK Jake Thompson added a 29-yard field goal.
Defensively, senior CB Tyler Floyd led the Aggies with six tackles, while senior LB Jarom Baldomero and senior CB Deshane Hines added five and four stops, respectively. Six other players recorded three tackles apiece.
Wells liked what he saw from senior NG David Moala and junior DE Ricky Ali’ifua on the defensive line.
“The D-line, especially David Moala and Ricky Ali’ifua, showed up early, and then I flat out thought they all got tired at the end,” Wells said. “There was good and bad in everything. It was a little sloppy on offense from a flag standpoint; the procedures and all that with the twos and the threes. A little bit of that is understandable, but it’s not to the coaches come Monday morning at 6:30. So, it was good and bad.”
Utah State continues its spring schedule next week, practicing on Tuesday and Thursday from 6-8 a.m., followed by its second scrimmage of the spring on Friday, April 3, from 3:30-5:30 p.m.
During the four-week period, the Aggies will participate in 15 spring practice sessions, including their annual Blue vs. White Spring Game on Saturday, April 11, on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium at 2 p.m. USU will then hold its final practice of the spring on Monday, April 13, from 3:45-5:45 p.m. All practice days, times and locations are subject to change.
Doug Hoffman is the associate athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.