LOGAN — The final scrimmage of Utah State's fall camp took place Saturday night at Maverik Stadium. With about 90 plays in the scrimmages, there was a limited contact "thud" scrimmage in which the starters saw very limited action.
The scrimmage opened with some special teamwork, with Brock Warren and Jake Thompson locked in a tight competition for field goal duties.
"The bright spots were the kickers kicked well on field goals," third-year head coach Matt Wells said. "Jake and Brock have had a good competition through training camp, and it's really going to come down to the wire the next couple of weeks."
While punting looked a little shaky, starting punter Aaron Dalton was held out of the scrimmage with what Wells described as a minor injury.
The scrimmage then moved through a 7-on-7 passing portion, which was the only time Chuckie Keeton saw action, before moving to a full 11-on-11 format. The defense was not as dominant as they had been in the first scrimmage, although there were two interceptions for touch downs. Redshirt freshman strong safety Aaron Wade returned the first pick 38 yards for a score, while freshman defensive end Ryan Garrett capped the scrimmage with a 65-yard interception return for a touchdown.
The ball was spread around on offense with six receivers recording one catch each. Chad Artist was the only receiver with more than one catch. He finished the scrimmage with three catches for 51 yards, including a beautiful 38-yard catch and run. LaJuan Hunt lead the way for the running backs with 42 yards on just five carries. The holes opened up by the offensive line were noticeable but some of the runs might have been blown dead before the runner would have been down.
"There were some good holes," Wells said. "The offensive line covered some guys up early on and moved their feet. Again, it's hard to tell. You have an arm tackle here and a grab on this, but it is what it is sometimes."
Overall Wells seemed very happy with how the scrimmage went. "There was some good stuff early on by the offense, not a lot of touchdowns, probably from how we were playing it from the thud standpoint," he said. "There was good execution. There were a lot of young guys because we were holding some guys out precautionary with injuries. I look forward to getting into next week. We have a few more days of training camp, then we'll start Southern Utah prep."
The defense looked strong as well with senior strong safety Marwin Evans recording a scrimmage-best five tackles, while junior defensive end Eric Berntson and redshirt freshman free safety Jontrell Rocquemore added four tackles each. Senior cornerback Promise Amadi, a transfer from Boise State, had three of the five pass breakups recorded by the defense. Senior defensive end Jordan Nielsen had the lone sack of the scrimmage. Utah State had five tackles for loss with five players getting one each.
"Compared to our last scrimmage, I thought we did very well," junior defensive end Ricky Ali'ifua said. "Our first scrimmage was very physical, very hard. We came out the second scrimmage kind of flat. There wasn't too much energy. That was the main focus of today, just getting back to where we normally play Aggie football and Aggie defense."
"Obviously, it was a little hard to play as physical as we want to because it wasn't a full go. It was thud, but for being thud, we had a really good scrimmage as far as the defense goes," he added. "A lot of guys showed up and made big plays. We ended on a good note with a pick-six from one of our young guys. It's always nice to see young guys come out like that and make a play to end the game. It was good."
The Aggies have one week left of fall camp before fall semester begins. The team will open the season at home against Southern Utah on Thursday, Sept. 3, at 7 p.m. Utah State will begin Mountain West play by hosting Colorado State on Saturday, Oct. 3. Parker Robertson is a graduate of Utah State University, a freelance contributor and an avid fan of sports. Follow me on Twitter @ParkerRob78 Email: ParkerRobertson18@gmail.com