Defense Has Edge In Tuesday’s USU Football Scrimmage

Aggie Fact of the Day:Utah State’s Western Athletic Conference opener on Sept. 18 vs. Fresno State is the Aggies’ earliest WAC-opener in their six seasons in the league and it is their earliest conference opener since 2004 when USU started Sun Belt Conference play on Sept. 11 vs. Idaho, winning, 14-7.Aggie Tidbit of the Day:USU senior linebacker Matt Ah You is from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and senior defensive lineman Devin Johnson went to Rancho Cucamonga High School… That is the same hometown and high school that also produced one of the most notable quarterbacks in Utah State history, Jose Fuentes (1998-2002), who holds several of the Aggies’ season and career passing records including career passing yards (9,168) and career TD passes (60), as well as career total offense (8,791 yards). LOGAN, Utah – Utah State’s defense had several goal line stops as well as totalling nine sacks as part of 17 tackles for loss, as the Aggie defenders had an edge over their counterparts in USU’s first scrimmage of the preseason Tuesday at Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium.The Aggie offense countered with 274 yards passing by four different quarterbacks and 94 yards rushing, scoring three TD’s and ending five drives with field goals. USU had 107 plays from scrimmage, plus several special teams situational plays, working on all aspects.”I thought they came out and their minds were right. They competed hard at a high level,” USU head coach Gary Andersen said of his Aggie players. “There are always positives and negatives, overall the biggest disappointment of the day was the first offensive and the first defense in the two-minute drill, but obviously it’s a huge positive to have the two’s (offense and defense) have some success. I think that shows the level of competition is growing, we made some plays on both sides of the football. It was a good start but we have a long way to go.”Sophomore linebacker Forrest Dabb and senior linebacker Jerome Barbour led the defense with six tackles each, while redshirt-freshman defensive lineman D.J. Tialavea posted five stops, including two tackles for loss, one of which was a sack. Senior safety Joey Schrader and junior cornerback Chris Harris logged four tackles each. Redshirt-freshman linebacker Zach Vigil posted a team-high three tackles for loss, while junior linebacker Reuben Willis added two, part of his four stops on the day.”Defensively, we were out there hustling making some big plays,” Tialavea said. “We kind of struggled when it came down to the crunch time to make that big play on those fourth downs, but I think for the most part our defense came out and played pretty well and made some plays. I think we took a step forward today.”The Aggie defense also held on several goal line situations, which they recovered from a couple offsides penalties. Junior cornerback Alfred Bowden snared the lone interception of the day on the second series and Schrader had a fumble recovery.Offensive highlights included a 17-to-17 TD pass, with senior quarterback Diondre Borel tossing a 17-yard scoring strike to No. 17, junior wide receiver Matt Austin. Borel had 61 yards passing while Austin had three catches for 41 yards. Sophomore wide receiver Emmanual Ojeriakhi had a 69-yard catch on a fourth-down play to get to the 1-yard line and fellow sophomore Mikhail Morgan had three catches for 58 yards, including a 6-yard TD catch from senior quarterback Jeff Fischer, who had 94 yards passing. Freshman Jeremy Higgins had 102 yards passing on eight completions, while classmate Alex Hart had 17 yards passing on three completions.Sophomore running back Kerwynn Williams led the USU rushing attack with 49 yards on six carries while senior Michael Smith had 11 rushes for 40 yards with a 5-yard TD scamper. Senior Derrvin Speight added 24 yards rushing on eight carries.”On the offensive side of the ball, we need to step it up a little bit. We started out a little bit slow, picked it up a little in the middle of practice, but our last drill wasn’t that great,” Borel said. “We’ve got to go over it on film and go over blocking schemes a little bit more. Overall the defense played a lot better. They were making plays on the ball, our d-line was playing a lot better. It was kind of going back and forth between the one’s and two’s. We just need to step it up a bit overall.”On special teams, senior placekicker Peter Caldwell booted five field goals during the game-type situations, including a 50-yarder, as well as hitting two others during special teams situations, finishing 7-of-7 on the day. Freshman Braeden Loveless was 8-of-9, with a long of 40-yards, while fellow freshman Nick Diaz was 4-of-8 with a long of 38.”The biggest thing is that we have competed everyday. The young men have come out with a good attitude,” Andersen said. “We still have some ground to make up in that area but I do see a football team that comes out with a mindset to practice. I do see a football team that I believe has made strides from a year ago, and we have to put ourselves in a position to win games.”Tuesday’s action was the first scrimmage of the preseason as Utah State continues to countdown to the season opener against No. 8 Oklahoma on Saturday, Sept. 4 at 5 p.m. (MT).All practices through Aug. 21 are tentatively open to the public, but fans must remain off the field. When USU is on the practice field, all fans must stay outside of the fence and when the Aggies are on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium, fans must remain in the stands at all times. All practices from Aug. 23 through Sept. 3 are closed to the public. All open practices are subject to change.USU’s final scrimmage of the fall will be in association with Utah State Aggie Football Family Fun Day, sponsored by Macey’s Foods, and will be held on Saturday, Aug. 21 at Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium. The event provides fans a chance to meet USU football players and coaches, participate in games and activities as well as purchase season tickets.Activities sponsored by Macey’s Foods will begin at 12:30 p.m., on the South Concourse of Romney Stadium. DownEast Home & Clothing will also be at Aggie Football Family Fun Day with a big $5 tent sale set up on the south concourse. USU’s football scrimmage gets underway at 1 p.m.Season tickets as well as two-game packages will be also available for purchase at the USU Football Family Fun Day on Saturday, Aug. 21 at the Romney Stadium Box Office, which is located on the South end of Romney Stadium. Season tickets will also be available for pickup for fans that ordered reserved west or east side season tickets prior to July 20, as well as anyone who purchased general admission, Junior Aggie, or family plan tickets. Fans that ordered reserved west or east side season tickets after July 20 will need to pick up their tickets from the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum Ticket Office the week of the first home game beginning Tuesday, Sept. 7.USU opens the 2010 season at Oklahoma on Saturday, Sept. 4, while Utah State’s home-opener is Saturday, Sept. 11 vs. border-foe Idaho State at 6 p.m. (MT).To purchase tickets, or for more Aggie football ticket information, fans can contact the USU Ticket Office at 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305, in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or on-line 24 hours a day at www.utahstateaggies.com under the “tickets” drop down menu.Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball and through the USU football blog at usufootball.wordpress.com. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.USU Football Practice Dates, Times and LocationsWed., Aug. 18 – 9-10:45 a.m. / 4:55-6:25 p.m. – Practice FieldThurs., Aug. 19 – 9-11 a.m. – Practice FieldFri., Aug. 20 – 9-10:45 a.m. / 4:55-6:25 p.m. – Practice FieldSat., Aug. 21 – 1 p.m. ** Scrimmage – part of Aggie Football Family Fun Day – Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium **Mon., Aug. 23 – Sat., Aug. 28 – Closed PracticesEnd of training campMon., Aug. 30 – Fri., Sept. 3 – Closed Practices*** Note: Fans coming to open practices must remain off the field. When USU is on the practice field, all fans must stay outside of the fence and when the Aggies are on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium, fans must remain in the stands at all times. All practices from Aug. 23 through Sept. 3 are closed to the public. All open practices are subject to change-USU-

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