April 20, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State's defense recorded two interceptions and recovered a fumble en route to a convincing 59-39 win against the Aggie offense in front of approximately 3,000 fans here Saturday on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium in the annual Blue vs. White Spring Game.
With a special scoring system, the offense got six points for a touchdown, three points for a field goal, two points for a rush of 15 or more yards, two points for a pass of 20 or more yards, one point for a first down and one or two points for respective conversions. The defense earned six points for a touchdown, five points for a turnover, three points for a three-and-out, three points for a blocked field goal, two points for a stopped drive, sack or tackle for loss, as well as one or two points for failed respective conversions.
Senior cornerback Tay Glover-Wright and sophomore linebacker La'Bradford Harold each recorded interceptions on the day, while redshirt freshman linebacker Nick Vigil recovered a fumble and returned it 43 yards to highlight USU's defense.
In all, the Aggie defense registered five sacks and seven tackles for loss during the spring game, to go along with seven pass breakups and two quarterback hurries.
Offensively, senior running back Joey DeMartino continued his impressive play during the spring as he carried the ball 16 times for 100 yards, while sophomore wide receiver Brandon Swindall caught four passes for 43 yards and senior wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen had five catches for 33 yards including a touchdown. Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton completed 15-of-29 passes for 103 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while fellow junior quarterback Craig Harrison completed 13-of-28 passes for 103 yards and one interception.
Utah State's first team offense scored on its initial drive of the game as junior placekicker Nick Diaz made a 32-yard field goal to cap a 10-play, 45-yard drive. USU's only other scoring drive on the day came on a 2-yard pass from Keeton to Van Leeuwen as the offense started on the defense's three yard-line.
Other highlights on the defensive side of the ball included two sacks by Nick Vigil, while Glover-Wright finished with a team-best six tackles. Redshirt freshman cornerback Marquan Ellison added five tackles to go along with a sack and a pass breakup, while senior safety Maurice Alexander, redshirt freshman linebacker Travis Parrish and Harold each notched four tackles.
Utah State returns 18 starters (O-8, D-7, S-3) and 49 letterwinners (O-23, D-22, S-4) from last year's 11-2 Western Athletic Conference and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Championship team that ended the year ranked 16th in the final Associated Press Poll and 22nd in the final Bowl Championship Series Standings.
Among those returning for Utah State include 10 players who earned various all-WAC accolades a year ago as senior linebacker Jake Doughty, sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell, junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton, senior offensive center Tyler Larsen and senior offensive tackle Eric Schultz were all named to the first-team, while senior cornerback Nevin Lawson, senior offensive guard Jamie Markosian, sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Nielsen and junior linebacker Zach Vigil were all named to the second-team, and senior defensive tackle Connor Williams was named to the honorable mention team.
Utah State will open the 2013 season on Thursday, Aug. 29 at Utah and play its first Mountain West game the following weekend at Air Force on Saturday, Sept.7. USU's first home game of the 2013 campaign will be on Saturday, Sept. 14 against Weber State, while its first home Mountain West game will be on Saturday, Oct. 12 against Boise State.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
UTAH STATE FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGE QUOTES
HEAD COACH Matt Wells
Overall thoughts on the spring game:
"We got out healthy and it was competitive. We got a little sloppy at times when we started subbing, and that's not usually us, but the goal was to get in and get out. I thought we threw the ball well. I thought the D-Line did a really nice job. Those front seven on defense, I keep saying this, give us a tough time in running the ball. We're pretty good up front. We'll see how good come the end of August and September. I saw Tay Glover-Wright show up a few times. Nick Vigil stood out. Joe Hill continues to be a productive player."
"The other thing this team's going to be all about is what you saw the last 15 minutes in getting a lot of these former lettermen and guys that played here and laid the foundation for this program back. It's important for me to get those guys back here."
On getting the interception he'd hoped to see:
"There were some picks and turnovers. I think that's good. It shows we're around the ball. On the flipside, on the offense, we've got to get hands down and some of the timings right from the quarterback perspective. But you know what? That's ball."
On the pressure by the defense:
"That's a prime example of the O-linemen being shuffled in and out. Not to make that an excuse because there was pressure, but when you start putting in a kid that hasn't been right next to the other kids, that comes down to communication. Now, that still falls on us. We've got to communicate better and slide better. There were a couple of times we were hot, a receiver or quarterback missed it and our defense was aggressive and did a nice job. I think that's how we play. Hopefully you force offense into turnovers or picks or pressure situations."
On Joey DeMartino today:
"Joey has done a nice job of establishing a role for himself. He's done a nice job on special teams. As a senior, the light is turned on and really clicking for him. I'm proud of him."
On Travis Van Leeuwen and Brandon Swindall:
"(Travis) made some good catches. He continues to do some good things, we just need to be a lot more consistent in some of those areas. (Brandon Swindall) showed up again today, he flashed. I just saw you all nod your heads, so obviously I saw the same thing you are. Brandon Swindall has earned himself a role to play for us in the fall and I'm very happy with him."
On where the team goes from here:
"I think the biggest thing is that we as a staff have to understand the guys and some of the incoming recruits that are going to fit in roles. We have to get them prepared for the summer when we can't be with them to be able to jump right in with our players for us to be exceptional on both offense and defense. Just average won't cut it around here for any of us. That's where our leadership of Chuckie (Keeton), the O-line and the front seven has to show up in the summer. Summer is a big part for a lot of programs. With coach (Dave) Scholz and his staff in weight room and all that, there's still a lot of work to do and then 29 practices in August."
SENIOR RUNNING BACK Joey DeMartino
On his performance today:
"It was a great game on both sides of the ball. Both sides came out ready to play. It was a physical day today and everybody worked their techniques a lot. It was cool just because Aggies were taking care of Aggies. There were a lot of open shots people could have taken, but we respect our teammates and don't hit them when they're defenseless. It was just a great day for Aggie football."
On what he saw from the defense:
"They were getting penetration at the right time and the right down. They were getting us off the field, which is what they're supposed to do. We have to capitalize as an offense and that's definitely something we'll work on over the summer."
On the depth:
"We need everybody to play. We're going into the Mountain West, which is a more difficult conference. We've got to have depth when we get out there. It's great to see the twos out there and getting after it, showing the coach that we can compete when we get our number called up. I feel really good about the twos. I'm very confident in everyone in the two groups."
On having Robert Turbin back on the sideline:
"He's like my big brother. Ever since I got here he's been helping me out, always showing me the right way to do things. He taught me how to be an Aggie. He really helped me change myself even more as a person than as a football player. He's always helping and willing to make us better. He's a great leader to me."
SENIOR CORNERBACK Tay Glover-Wright
On today's game:
"Today was fun. Everyone came out and had fun. The number one goal was for the defense to get the offense off the field. The first touchdown was on me so I felt like I had to redeem myself. There are a lot of things I have to work on. I'm new to corner, so I'm still learning. We come out and work together and play hard."
On focusing on one position as opposed to last season:
"It's different, but I like it. It's easier because I don't have to focus on the offense as well as what's going on with the defense. Sometimes they think I'm cheating because I've been on offense and know some of their signs, but it's never like that. I'm a good player, I've got sportsmanship."
On what was at stake today:
"It was positions, really. I'm a senior and I know that just because I'm a senior doesn't mean I just get my position. I have to work for my position, just like everybody else."
On having so many lettermen here:
"That meant the world to me. I appreciate everything they do and the support they give. That meant a lot. I told them all thanks and that we appreciate everything they do for us."
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