What did backup quarterbacks Cooper Legas and Levi Williams show, if anything, against Alabama?
Legas and Williams have been battling for the backup spot behind Logan Bonner since the spring.
No Utah State Aggie football player was truly a standout Saturday night against Alabama.
The Crimson Tide dominated, en route to a 55-0 shutout victory in Tuscaloosa.
It was largely a brutal night for the Aggies, one that they professed the need to leave behind afterward, but it did afford backup quarterbacks Cooper Legas and Levi Williams significant playing time.
Legas and Williams have been battling for the backup quarterback job — behind Logan Bonner — for months now, going back to the spring.
They are listed as Legas OR Williams on the Utah State depth chart, meaning the race continues to be neck-and-neck.
Given time, both showed flashes of their potential Saturday, even in dismal circumstances.
“Considering the environment, I thought they both did fine,” Utah State head coach Blake Anderson said.
Bonner started the game, per the usual, but after his knee was aggravated early, the Aggies elected to take no chances, benching him for the rest of the night.
“He (Bonner) got dinged early,” Anderson said, “and with the knee we don’t want to take a lot of chances.
“It was swelling. Structurally it seems fine and he will be fine next week, but it wasn’t smart to keep putting him out there. He wasn’t going to be able to move like we needed him to.”
In Bonner’s absence, the Aggies turned to Legas and Williams, and statistically neither performed all that well.
Legas completed 3 of 8 pass attempts for just three yards, while Williams completed 2 of 5 passes for 15 yards.
Both ran with the ball, too — Legas had the edge there — but ultimately combined for only 10 total yards.
So how were they “fine?”
Upon entry into the game, both quarterbacks sparked the Aggies to multiple first downs. In a game when Utah State had only seven total first downs, that success was notable.
Moreover, both flashed capable running ability.
Legas reeled off a 9-yard run up the middle that required multiple Alabama defenders to bring him down, while Williams proved adept at running to the sideline, gaining a couple yards here and there.
When it came to running the offense, in arguably the most hostile environment either will ever play in, Anderson was content with both.
“In that sense, I thought both did well,” Anderson said. “That (Bryant-Denny Stadium) is a pretty chaotic environment to be in. They were under duress a good bit. To not have thrown a pick... they did a good job.”
Williams did fumble once — the Aggies fumbled three times in the game but recovered all of them — but it wasn’t an excusable miscue, as far as any near turnover can be excused.
“We did have one ball end up on the ground,” Anderson said, “but it was a pretty physical hit that caused it.”
Anderson was pleased with how the signal callers communicated play calls to their teammates, given the duress of playing in front of 100,000-plus people, against the top-ranked team in the country, an environment safety Ike Larsen admitted elicited butterflies.
“They communicated well, got a couple of first downs along the way,” Anderson said. “They both did fine.”