Courtesy of Utah State Athletics
LOGAN, Utah - Junior wide receiver Stanley Morrisonâ€™s banner performance for the offense was matched by senior defensive end Maxim Dinka Mbaâ€™s steadfast effort for the defense as Utah State football completed spring camp Saturday with the Blue-White Spring Scimmage. A crowd of roughly 3,000 fans were treated to an exciting scrimmage under warm, sunny conditions at Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium.
The scrimmage was the banner event of an exciting and eventful day, as the action started with the USU softball team beating San Jose State, 2-1, in a walk-off hit in the bottom of the seventh inning at LaRee and LeGrand Johnson Field. Prior to the scrimmage in HURD Bowl I, the Stampede beat the A-Team, 32-30, in the championship of the HURDâ€™s flag football tournament on Merlin Olsen Field. After the scrimmage, Aggie football alumni were introduced and spoke to the team and then fans got autographs from the current and former USU players.
â€œWe stayed healthy and overall, we got the situations that we wanted to get in. The oneâ€™s on both sides played well,â€ USU head coach Gary Andersen said.
Saturdayâ€™s spring camp culminating scrimmage was roughly 70 plays, and saw the Aggie offense generate 460 yards, scoring seven passing TDâ€™s and one rushing TD. Morrison had a 63-yard TD run and a 22-yard TD catch, one of seven different receivers with a score. Morrison was the leading rusher with 88 yards on three carries while totalling 35 yards on three catches.
â€œWeâ€™re just having fun out there. When you get the ball youâ€™ve just got to make a play. So when I get the ball, I just come in and make a play, thatâ€™s my job,â€ Morrison said. â€œItâ€™s been a great spring.â€
Dinka Mba anchored the Aggie defense with eight tackles, two for loss, one sack and one fumble recovery.
â€œToday I thought we came out pretty strong. Itâ€™s not the most aggressive scrimmage that weâ€™ve had. This next season is looking very promising. Iâ€™m just happy to see that my teammates came out healthy and we finished up good. Iâ€™m looking forward to the summer training,â€ Dinka Mba said.
Other offensive highlights included senior quarterback Diondre Borelâ€™s 9-of-14 passing for 161 yards with four TDâ€™s. Fellow senior signal-caller Jeff Fischer was 4-of-11 for 35 yards and sophomore QB Steve Vincent was 2-of-5 for 30 yards with a TD and an interception. Junior wide receiver Matt Austin had two receptions for 44 yards, including a 30-yard TD catch. Junior wideout Xavier Martin (12-yards), sophomore wide reciver Josh Johansen (20-yards), junior tight end Tarren Lloyd (7-yards), sophomore running back Kerwynn Williams (12-yards) and senior running back Derrvin Speight (39-yards) joined in on the TD catch outings.
Senior defensive end/linebacker Devin Johnson added five tackles while junior defensive end Levi Koskan made four stops, while senior safety Joey Schrader, redshirt-freshman linebacker Jake Doughty and senior cornerback Chris Randle all had three tackles apieace. Redshirt-freshman cornerback Cameron Sanders snared the dayâ€™s lone interception and six other defenders had one pass break-up each.
In the limited special teams action, senior placekicker Peter Caldwell was 5-of-7 on field goals, making three from a long of 37-yards and two others from 30-yards out, while redshirt freshman Josh Thompson was 3-of-4, making one from 37 and two from 30.
All-in-all, Andersen and his staff were pleased with the progress that the Aggies made throughout spring camp, which started on March 23 and came to a close Saturday.
â€œOverall on the spring I think itâ€™s gone back and forth from offense to defense; last year it was completely one-sided when the offense dominated. Throughout the spring practices there has been give and take on both the offense and the defenses; I think that shows progress,â€ Andersen said.
Andersen liked what he saw day-in and day-out from the squad, pointing out several positives.
â€œThe consistent effort and the way these kids played for 15 practices really stood out to me,â€ Andersen said. â€œI canâ€™t look at one thing of a scrimmage or one practice at a time, I have to look at it as a whole. There was only one time when I stopped practice because I thought it was a little bit sub-par, and the kids rallied back and did a nice job. Leadership has grown tremendously on this team. Those are what really pops out to me.â€
Utah State will return 45 letterwinners (21 offense, 22 defense, two special teams), including 19 starters (eight offense, nine defense, two special teams), from last seasonâ€™s 4-8 mark, the Aggiesâ€™ most wins since 2002. Utah State was 3-5 in WAC action, matching the 2008 season for top conference record in USUâ€™s five years in the league. The Aggies were tied for fifth in the final league standings, USUâ€™s highest-ever finish in its time in the conference and the best league finish since tying for fourth in the Sun Belt Conference in 2004.
The Aggies have six home games in 2010, including a nationally-televised game on the ESPN network for the second-straight season, as the USU-BYU game on Friday, Oct. 1 will be televised by either ESPN or ESPN2.
Utah State football season ticket renewal applications have been mailed out. Fans can also renew online 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com and clicking on the â€œbuy/renew ticketsâ€ under the â€œticketsâ€ drop down menu.