Utah State held their first Spring game under new head coach Blake Anderson on March 27th and Anderson expressed great enthusiasm for the way the day turned out in terms of weather and fans and how the team played.
Overall, the Aggies gained 795 yards of offense (383 passing yards, 412 rushing) and scored three touchdowns. Cooper Legas threw a 33 yard touchdown pass to Derek Wright and threw another 27 yard touchdown once again to Derek Wright. Pailate Makakona also scored on a seven yard rushing touchdown. Cooper Legas went 16-20 (80%) and threw for 182 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. Andrew Peasley went 12-29 and threw for 174 yards and an interception, at one point completing a 51 yard pass.
Elelyon Noa led the team in rushing, going for 112 yards and a long of 42. Running back John Gentry rushed for 63 yards with a long of 22, Devonta’e Henry-Cole went for 57 yards with a long of 15, and Calvin Tyler Jr. rushed for 50 yards with a long of 31.
Deven Thompkins led the team in receiving gaining 129 yards and a long of 51 and Derek Wright had 82 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Quinton Hadnot had 38 yards receiving and Kyle Van Leeuwen had 38 yards receiving. Savon Scarver had 26 yards receiving and Justin McGriff had six yards receiving.
Defensively, the Aggies forced four turnovers, two of which were returned for touchdowns with a 59 yard scoop and score by Xavion Steele and a 36 yard pick six by Cash Gillam. Safety Luke Marion led the team in tackles with 10 and he also had a forced fumble. Safety Ajani Carter had eight tackles, linebacker Jaymason Willingham had seven tackles, linebacker Cash Gilliam had five tackles, a sack, two tackles for loss, and two pass breakups in addition to the pick six. Transfer Justin Rice had three tackles, a tackle for loss, and a pass breakup. Defensive end Byron Hobbs-Vaughns had three tackles, two sacks, three tackles for loss, and a blocked kick. Defensive tackle Hale Motu’apuaka had two sacks and two tackles for loss.
There are certain things to take away from this scrimmage. Firstly, the offense was able to find balance. Last season the Aggies struggled to get a 100 yard passer in the first couple games and the receivers, just as they did in 2019, struggled as a group. Utah State managed to get two 100 passers in Cooper Legas and Andrew Peasley and was also able to get a 100 yard rusher. One of the important notices about this scrimmage is that the receiving group wasn’t made up of already familiar names. Deven Thompkins was able to step up as was Dereck Wright but new names also came to mind such as Quinton Hadnot and Kyle Van Leeuwen. The same could be said for the defensive side of the ball with names such as Byron Hobbs-Vaughs, Xavion Steele, Luke Marion, Anjani Carter, and Jaymason Willingham making appearances on the stat sheet.
The team seemed much more consistent and more motivated under new leadership and while it was only a scrimmage, it shows that this team is ready to put in the work to compete for the division title. If Utah State can solve the problems of inconsistent offense and giving up big plays on defense, the Aggies could be in for a big season. There is certainly still a long ways to go but the team already seems much improved. Moving forward Blake Anderson will need to keep his guys motivated and improving every week leading to the start of the season in September.