USU Names Fuentes Starting Quarterback

Sept. 11, 2000

LOGAN, Utah - Utah State head coach Mick Dennehy has named sophomore Jose Fuentes as the team's starting quarterback heading into the team's next game at Arizona State on Sept. 23.

Fuentes, who came off the bench to rally Utah State to a come-from-behind victory against Southern Utah on Saturday, Sept. 9, provided a much needed spark for the team according to the head coach.

After the offense punted on each of its seven first-half possessions, starter Jeff Crosbie was removed from the game in favor of Fuentes to start the second half. Fuentes connected on 10-of-13 passes for 198 yards and four touchdowns in the second half. Crosbie was five-of-15 for 27 yards in the first half and is 21-of-49 for 180 yards in two games this season.

"It is an area where whoever that guy is, he gets too much attention, too much praise and too much criticism and yet it is an important position," Dennehy said of the quarterback position. "It is a position of not just making plays and being productive, but of being a leader and leading the team into the endzone. For that reason I feel like Jose deserves a chance to start.

"It is no different a situation than what Jeff was in during his freshman year when he had a chance to go in and make plays," Dennehy said. "I think that probably the difference between the two guys is the fact that I felt that Jose was more comfortable and more relaxed and was able to move around a little bit. Who knows the dynamics of why some guys get some help and why some guys don't? What if Aaron Jones doesn't make that play, coming back on the ball (on the 70-yard touchdown reception)? That is part of the game of football."

Crosbie has started 17 consecutive games at quarterback for the Aggies. As a freshman Crosbie moved into the starting spot in the eighth game of the season after Riley Jensen was injured in the team's sixth game of the year at Washington and Logan Galli was given an opportunity to start in the seventh game against Idaho.

"The bottom line is that Jeff has had an opportunity and he has struggled a little bit in terms of his ability to confidently do his job and the opportunity will still be there for him to play," Dennehy said. "I have no doubt in my mind that Jeff Crosbie is a tremendous young man, who I don't think is satisfied with his efforts up to this point and time. Maybe this will help him and maybe he will relax a little bit and step back and take a deep breath, instead of being thrown into the fire. He could use this as a catapult to become the player that I think he can become and the kind of player that he thinks he can become."

Fuentes played in four games a year ago and was four-of-11 passing for 91 yards. He threw two interceptions as well. Fuentes did not play in the season opener against Texas Tech this year.

"As the game went on, Jeff became more and more frustrated," Dennehy said of the Southern Utah game. "As the game went on in the second half, you saw a little bit different bounce in Jose's step. You saw some poise. He appeared to be comfortable back there."

Utah State has a bye on Sept. 16 and will return to the field against Arizona State on Sept. 23.



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