LOGAN, Utah - Utah State football highlighted Saturday's Aggie Football Family Fun Day, sponsored by Macey's, at Romney Stadium with a successful scrimmage.
During the controlled scrimmage, the roughly 5,000 fans in attendance who braved the heat cheered on the Aggies, sampled food from Macey's and played games on the concourse of the stadium. Following the scrimmage, fans went on the field to get autographs, as well as playing games and activities including playing catch with Aggie players on the field.
USU head coach Gary Andersen and his coaching staff conducted a controlled scrimmage Saturday, where the Aggies practiced situational football. The starters played against each other and practiced thud tempo where there was no tackling with a quick whistle. The second and third teams played against each other and practiced live situations.
"It was just some basic situations from an offensive and defensive standpoint. We were able to come out here and execute," Andersen said afterwards. "We gave the three's, the four's and the five's 25-30 extra reps and we were able to get that done. We put the offense and defense in some situations and we were able to stay healthy. We were as generic as we could be for the offense and defense."
The Aggies practiced several game-like situations, fine-tuning things for the season-opener at No. 19 Utah on Thursday, Sept. 3 at Salt Lake City.
"The biggest thing was getting into game-like situations. We had a true clock. We got them on and off the field. Watching the kickers, there were some good things. We got a few field goals, which was good. Mostly we were just looking at game mechanics," Andersen said.
Highlights for the offense included three quarterbacks passing for over 50 yards each, led by junior Jeff Fischer's 70 yards, while freshman Kane Wilson had 53 passing yards and junior Diondre Borel threw for 51 yards. Freshman T.J. Canales threw the lone TD pass of the afternoon, a 20-yard strike to freshman wide receiver Cameron Sanders to conclude the scrimmage.
"That is what we needed. We work on that in practice with certain situations," Borel said. "We need to clean up some things but it went well."
The defense was led by junior linebacker Maxim Dinka-Mba with five tackles, including two sacks, as well as a pass break-up. Five players posted three or more tackles, followed by senior defensive end Chris Williams, sophomore defensive end Bobby Wagner and junior safety Joey Schrader with four stops each. Senior cornerback Kejon Murphy snared the lone interception of the day.
"The scrimmage went pretty well. There were a few mistakes on both sides, which is common. I think the defense played pretty well. We are just ready to get started with the season right now," Dinka-Mba said.
Special teams highlights included junior Peter Caldwell hitting four-of-five field goals, with a long of 48 yards, capping several of the scripted eight-play drives. Freshman Josh Thompson hit both field goals he attempted from 32 and 42 yards.
The Aggies open the 2009 season against Utah on Thursday, Sept. 3. After a bye and a road game at Texas A&M on Saturday, Sept. 19, USU hosts in-state foe Southern Utah in the Aggies' home opener on Saturday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m.
Andersen and the Aggies return a WAC-leading 19 total starters, including a conference-best 10 on offense, as well as seven on defense and two kickers. Those 19 starters are part of 48 returning lettermen from last season's 3-9 team. Last year was the first time since 2005 that the Aggies had three wins in a season and USU's 3-5 WAC record was its best in its four seasons in the league. It was also the first time since 2003 that USU has won three conference games and just the third time in the 2000's (2000: 4-1 Big West; 2003: 3-4 Big West; 2008: 3-5 WAC).
For season and single-game ticket information, contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305, or online 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com and clicking on the "buy/renew tickets" under the "tickets" drop down menu.