Utah State held their annual Blue vs White Spring game this past Saturday afternoon. The offense, wearing blue, was able to get past the defense, who was wearing white, in a 53-46 victory. In terms of the scoring system, the offense received seven points for touchdowns and extra points, three points for field goals, and one point for a punt inside the ten yard line. The defense received seven points for a touchdown off of a turnover, five points for a turnover, three points for a four and out, three points for a three and out, two points for a defensive stop (punt after 1st down), and two points for a safety. The first half consisted of two ten minute quarters and a ten minute halftime while the second half consisted of one 20 minute quarter with running time.
The game started off with the defense dominating, making six straight stops before the offense was able to get going in the second quarter. The first touchdown of the game was a 15 yard pass from Andrew Peasley to Calvin Tyler Jr. and the second touchdown was a 59 yard pass from Peasley to Deven Thompkins. Kyle Van Leeuween scored the next touchdown on a 39 yard pass from Cooper Legas. John Gentry would score the next touchdown with a 21 yard rushing touchdown and Quinton Hadnot would score the next on a 37 yard pass from Cooper Legas. Deven Thompkins would catch a nine yard pass from Andrew Peasley to score the next touchdown and the next offensive score would come from Connor Cole, who hit a 37 yard field goal. Late in the game the score was tied at 46-46 until the offense went on a 65 yard drive that was capped off with a one yard touchdown run by Cooper Jones.
Andrew Peasley led the offense in passing yards, going 16-24 for 234 yards and three touchdowns, throwing a long pass of 59 yards and an interception. Cooper Legas was the next passer in line, throwing for 132 yards on 11-16 passing and throwing two touchdowns, going for a long of 39 yards. Garrett Larson went 2-2 for 16 yards and Josh Calvin was 0-3 and threw one interception.
Cooper Jones led the running backs, rushing for 94 yards, going in for the game winning score and also had a long of 50 yards rushing. John Gentry was the next man up, rushing for 72 yards and a touchdown with a long of 21 yards. Pailate Makakona rushed for 46 yards with a long of 16 yards while Calvin Tyler Jr. went for 41 yards. Elelyon Noa went for 38 yards with a long of 14 yards while Josh Calvin went for five yards.
Deven Thompkins led the receiving group just as he did with the previous spring scrimmage, grabbing 121 yards and two touchdowns with a long of 59 yards. Brandon Bowling went for 44 yards with a long of 19 yards while Kyle Van Leeuwen went for 55 yards and a touchdown with a long of 39 yards. Quinton Hadnot went for 53 yards and a touchdown with a long of 37 yards and Savon Scarver went for 45 yards with a long of 41 yards. Elelyon Noa went for 23 yards with a long of 12 yards and Justin McGriff was able to get 12 yards with a long of seven. The only other player to grab receiving yards in the double digits was Calvin Tyler Jr. who had one catch for 15 yards.
Dominic Tatum led the defense in tackles with nine while also posting an interception. Linebacker Kevin Meitzenheimer had seven tackles with a tackle for loss and a sack. Safety Shaq Bond had seven tackles with a tackle for loss and two pass breakups. Linebacker AJ Vongphachanh had six tackles and Ajani Carter had six tackles had two tackles for loss. Outside linebacker Cash Gilliam had five tackles and a pass breakup and linebacker Justin Rice had had five tackles. Defensive tackle Marcus Moore had four tackles, one tackle for a loss and a sack. Linebacker Kina Maile had four tackles and cornerback Jaden Smith had four tackles and an interception. Linebacker Jaymason Willingham had four tackles and a tackle for loss while defensive end Patrick Joyner Jr. had four tackles. Linebacker Sione Moa and four tackles and defensive tackle Seni Tuiaki had four tackles and three tackles for loss. Defensive tackle James Hansen had three tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack.
Overall, it was a good day for both the defense and the offense considering the scoring system. The offense totaled seven touchdowns and a field goal and the defensive forced some turnovers (two) and made stops on defense, six consecutive to start the game. The run game was able to get going and just like the scrimmage earlier in the Spring, there were various receivers that made plays, not just a few players, a good sign for a group that has struggled in terms of production the past two seasons. Andrew Peasley and Cooper Legas also had productive days, both passing for 100 yards, with Peasley passing for over 200. Deven Thompkins was the only receiver to go over 100 yards but again there was a number of different players that made plays.
A concerning statistic was the amount of big plays given up by the defense. Many of the passes given up were big ones, for example there was longs of 50, 41, 39 and 37 yards. There were also two big rushes of 50 yards and 21 yards given up. The offense also really struggled to get going to start the game, which is something that Blake Anderson and the offense are going to have to figure out quickly. The Washington State game is big but there is two huge September games against Air Force and Boise State, and not surprisingly, both typically boast both good offenses and good defenses. The Broncos defense looks to be especially fierce this year so the Aggies will need to have a game plan ready because in order to stay competitive in the division, Utah State will need to win one of two of those games.
There is still a lot to work out and clean up but Utah State does look to be going in a better direction than they have been going the past two seasons. This won’t be an easy job starting for Blake Anderson but with time there is little doubt that Utah State will be competing for conference titles again soon.