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LOGAN, Utah - Utah State concluded its spring practice sessions with a 55-play scrimmage on Friday with the defense providing solid play at the beginning and the offense picking up the pace in the latter part of the workout.
The defense kept the Aggie offense out of the endzone and really limited drives when USU had to move the ball from its own side of the 50-yard line. However, when the offense started in the Red Zone, the Aggies scored on four straight possessions.
"The offense started a little slow," USU head coach Brent Guy said. "I don't want to see the ball on the ground like we saw. The defense stepped up and made plays. Once we got the ball down in the plus-40 and plus-20, I thought the offense executed and did some things better."
With sophomore Jase McCormick at quarterback, USU capped its first 20-yard drive with a Derrvin Speight five-yard touchdown run. Mike Affleck led the Aggies into the endzone on the next possession as Curtis Marsh scored on an eight-yard run.
Sean Setzer's turn at quarterback in the next possession also resulted in a touchdown as after a two-yard loss, he connected with Nnamdi Gwacham on a 22-yard scoring play.
Aaron Lesue was the third Aggie tailback to rush for a touchdown as he pushed his way into the endzone from three yards out to cap the four straight scoring drives.
USU then tried two possessions from the five-yard line and scored on both as Leon Jackson went around the left end to score from five yards out and Marsh flew over the top of the pile from the one-yard line for another score.
Marsh, a freshman transfer, who was enrolled at the Naval Academy a year ago, led all USU rushers with 10 carries for 33 yards. He had consecutive runs of seven and eight yards midway through the scrimmage before scoring on two of his last three carries.
"Curtis Marsh, the best thing I saw him do was after he fumbled the ball he came back and ran the ball pretty well and made some nice runs," Guy said.
McCormick also drew praise from the head coach after he hit two of two passes for 10 yards and rushed five times for five yards, gaining 16 yards on three carries before losing 11 yards on two sacks.
"Jase McCormick is a guy that made some plays today and that is kind of what he has done all spring," Guy said.
On the day, four Aggie quarterbacks connected on a combined 12 of 16 attempts for 116 yards. Setzer, a junior college transfer was five of eight for 64 yards and one touchdown, while Leon Jackson was four of four for 30 yards, Mike Affleck one of two for 12 yards and McCormick was two of two for 10 yards.
Other key rushers besides Marsh were Aaron Lesue, who pounded out 28 yards and one touchdown on nine carries and Setzer, who produced 24 yards on three attempts.
The defense came up with a couple of big plays, including two sacks by sophomore defensive tackle Alan Bishop and a pass broken up by junior college transfer Roy Hurst.
"We had a lot of good hitting and a lot of good plays," Guy said of the defense.
Utah State will open its 2007 season hosting UNLV on Thursday, August 30.
USU Football Scrimmage Statistics (April 13, 2007)
Scoring Summary Derrvin Speight, 5 yard run Curtis Marsh, 8 yard run Nnamdi Gwacham, 22 yard pass from Sean Setzer Aaron Lesue, 3 yard run Leon Jackson, 5 yard run Curtis Marsh, 1 yard run
Rushing Curtis Marsh,10-33 (2 TD) Aaron Lesue, 9-28 (1 TD) Sean Setzer, 3-24 Jacob Actkinson, 3-6 Derrvin Speight, 4-6 (1 TD) Jase McCormick, 5-5 Leon Jackson, 4-(-4)
Passing Sean Setzer, 5-8, 64 yards (1 TD) Leon Jackson, 4-4, 30 yards Mike Affleck, 1-2, 12 yards Jase McCormick, 2-2, 10 yards
Receiving Tony Harkey, 2-23 Nnamdi Gwacham, 1-22 (1 TD) Will Fausel, 1-17 Josh Anderson, 1-13 Preston Robinson, 1-12 Rob Myers, 1-9 Jimmy Bohm, 1-9 Jacob Actkinson, 2-8 Doug Barbour, 1-6 Omar Sawyer, 1-(-3)
Defense Sacks - Alan Bishop (2) Pass Broken Up - Roy Hurst