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LOGAN, Utah - Utah State sophomore quarterback Jace McCormick made hay when the sun shone, which was quite a bit on a day with temperatures in the upper 90's at kickoff at the Aggies' first scrimmage of the season Thursday evening. McCormick was 6-of-8 passing for 123 yards with a touchdown, and ran for 40 yards on four carries.
"It was a long scrimmage with 121 snaps, one of the longer ones we've done. We've had 70 live snaps in camp," USU head coach Brent Guy said. "We had good tempo early but wore down a little bit toward the end. This is the hottest it's been and anytime you come into the stadium it is 15 degrees hotter than on the practice field."
USU ran 121 snaps, with 107 plays from scrimmage and 14 special teams plays. The Aggies ran situation plays, ranging from the offense starting at its own 1-yard line to first-and-goal from the 5-yard line and everything in between. Five touchdowns and five field goals were scored on the day.
Defensively, USU held the offense in the red zone, forcing them to attempt five field goals. Freshmen Chris Ulinski (6-2, 207, Grass Valley, Calif./Nevada Union HS) and Peter Caldwell (6-4, 213, Kaysville, Utah/Davis HS) hit all of their attempts. Caldwell hit three field goals with a long of 32-yards, while Ulinski had a long of 35 yards on the first score of the scrimmage and added a 31-yarder later.
"I thought our defense did a really nice job in the red zone," Guy said. "When we got in the red zone, we made the offense kick field goals, which is good for us on defense, good in specialty department because we made all those field goals, but we want to score touchdowns. It was great to see more than one guy be able to hit those field goals. We have a couple guys competing for that job right now."
Freshman defensive tackle Jervon Graves (6-1, 290, Olathe, Kan/Olathe South HS) and junior linebacker Devon Hall (6-3, 220, Reseda, Calif./Cleveland HS) had two tackles for loss each. Sophomore defensive end Darby Golden (6-1, 246, Lakewood, Calif./Lakewood HS) pressured the quarterback repeatedly, as well as a host of Aggies also coming up big on defense, including a total of nine tackles for loss.
McCormick, a 6-1, 190 native of Layton, Utah (Northridge HS) was the highlight on offense, hitting freshman running back Curtis Marsh (6-0, 190, Simi Valley, Calif./Royal HS/Naval Academy) on a 65-yard catch and run play for a TD during two-minute drills late in the scrimmage.
The running backs also had success with freshman Derrvin Speight (5-9, 201, Irving, Texas/MacArthur HS), senior Aaron Lesue (5-10, 195, Fallon, Nev./Churchill County HS/Dixie State College) and freshman Robert Turbin (5-11, 195, Fremont, Calif./Irvington HS) all logging big runs. Speight ended with 12 carries for 54 yards and a TD, while Lesue had 10 rushes for 46 yards and Turbin had nine carries for 41 yards with a pair of TD's.
"I thought some of the running backs jumped out and made some great runs," Guy said. "We intentionally gave Derrvin Speight the ball four times in a row on the same exact play and he finally punched it in on the last one. It was good to see him do that, compete, run somebody over and make a touchdown in the goal-line series."
USU has four more two-a-day practices scheduled, starting Friday, Aug. 17 followed by Monday, Aug. 20; Wednesday Aug. 22 and Friday, Aug. 24.
The Aggies' second and final scrimmage of the season is Tuesday, Aug. 21 at 4:30 p.m., also at Romney Stadium.
That will be USU's final preparation for the home and season-opener on Thursday, Aug. 30 when the Aggies tangle with UNLV in a 6:05 p.m. kickoff.
After road games at Wyoming on Sept. 8 and Oklahoma on Sept. 15, the Aggies return for Homecoming 2007 on Sept. 22, hosting San Jose State. USU then faces in-state rival Utah on Sept. 29 at Salt Lake City, followed by a game at Hawai'i on Oct. 6. The Aggies then have three home dates in a four game span, opening with Nevada on Oct. 20, followed by Louisiana Tech on Oct. 27. After going to Fresno State on Nov. 3, USU's home finale is on Nov. 10 with Boise State. The regular-season concludes with games on New Mexico State and Idaho on Nov. 17 and 24, respectively.
USU, which was picked eighth entering its third season in the WAC, was 1-11 overall and 1-7 in WAC play last year, finishing tied for eighth after being picked seventh in both of last season's preseason media and coaches' polls.