April 28, 2012
LOGAN, Utah - Behind three touchdown passes, the Blue edged the White, 58-57, in Utah State football's Blue-White Spring Game presented by Orbit Irrigation Products, Saturday afternoon at a sunny Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium in front of a spirited crowd.
Many of the approximately 5,000 fans were decked out in freshly-purchased attire bearing USU Athletics' new logo which was unveiled earlier Saturday at a press conference in the overflowing Spetman Auditorium on the second floor of the Jim & Carol Laub Athletics-Academics Complex. The new line of Nike uniforms were modeled by student-athletes at the press conference and on the field prior to the start of the game.
"It was an unbelievable day for the Aggies. New uniforms, new logo, 400 people here for our Junior Day today. Then to come out and have a productive spring game with an unbelievably tremendous crowd. That's the biggest crowd for this since we've been here by a long shot," USU head coach Gary Andersen said. "And then you get three kids drafted, two today, one yesterday. It's a pretty good day to be an Aggie if you ask me."
Before the scrimmage, former USU running back Robert Turbin was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the fifth round, while another Aggie running back Michael Smith was drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the seventh round, which took place during the spring game.
Once the game got going, the offense amassed 482 yards, scoring three TD's which all came through the air, and rang up 58 points in the unique scoring system created for the spring game. The USU defense totalled 57 points, getting nine tackles for loss, including four sacks.
"Overall, we stayed healthy. Everybody played, that's a positive, Andersen said. "We didn't have enough turnovers on defense. But on the flipside of that, we didn't turn it over on offense. It was a good day, we held the kids out that we needed to, and stayed fairly healthy. It was a productive day."
Sophomore QB Chuckie Keeton was 16-of-25 passing for 187 yards and two TDs, while senior QB Adam Kennedy was 16-of-22 passing for 143 yards and one TD toss. Keeton connected with senior WR Chuck Jacobs for an 8-yard scoring strike and with junior WR Jordan Jenkins from 7-yards out. Kennedy also had a 7-yard TD toss, hitting junior WR Travis Reynolds.
Jenkins had three receptions for 47 yards to lead the receiving corps in yards, while senior TE Kellen Bartlett added four receptions for 44 yards. Reynolds finished with four catches for 39 yards, and Jacobs totalled four catches for 34 yards.
On the ground, sophomore RB Joe Hill had 12 carries for 58 yards and freshman RB Tavarreon Dickerson added 10 carries for 42 yards, as the Aggies totalled 152 yards rushing. "I thought we did pretty good. We started a little bit slow, but we picked it up," Hill said. "The passing was good; the line was great. Chuckie is a special player. He plays like that all the time. Tavarreon Dickerson is a good running back. He's been working hard. He has a bright future."
The Aggie defense was led by redshirt-freshman S Michael Okonkwo with seven tackles, while sophomore LB Tavaris McMillian, junior LB Zach Vigil and sophomore S Frankie Sutera all had six stops apiece. The junior duo of LB Jake Doughty and DE Connor Williams added five tackles each.
Williams and freshman LB Kyler Fackrell had two tackles for loss each, while Fackrell tallied two sacks.
"On defense we've been working on starting out fast, coaches have been emphasizing that all spring. Like we've been wanting all spring, any good team, offense and defense has to go back and forth. I think we did that today. You can tell by the score of this scrimmage," Vigil said. "(Fackrell) He's a young player, but he's big and fast. He's going to learn a lot and become a better player. As you saw today, he had a lot of tackles, made a lot of plays."
Utah State will return 50 letterwinners (21 offense, 23 defense, six special teams) from the Aggies' historic 2011 season in which USU posted a 7-6 record, its first seven-win season since 1993, capping its season with its first bowl appearance since 1997 with a trip to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, losing to Ohio in a 24-23 thriller. Five of USU's losses were by one score or less, and 10 of the Aggies' games were decided by one score this season which were the most in the nation.
For the first time since 1996, the Aggie will open a season with back-to-back home games, hosting a pair of in-state foes in Southern Utah on Thursday, Aug. 30 and Utah on Friday, Sept. 7. Both games are slated for 6 p.m. (MT) starts from Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium. The Aggies' game against Utah will be on ESPN2. It will be the 110th meeting between USU and Utah, resuming the rivalry after a two-year hiatus. The Beehive State battle will be the Aggies' third time in the last four seasons with a home game on national television, after hosting Boise State in 2009, BYU in 2010 and Utah in 2012.
Renewals are available online 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com and visiting the "Ticket Office Home" page under the "Tickets" drop down menu. Fans interested in new sales should contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on 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.
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