Defense shines early in Blue-White Game, but offense comes on strong
Those are among the many changes Utah State University football fans saw at Romney Stadium during the annual Blue and White game Friday night, which the Blue team won 21-13.
And USU head coach Mick Dennehy is impressed with what he's seen so far.
"The overall impression is good," said Dennehy, who took over the coaching helm when Dave Arslanian was fired after his 4-7 season in 1999. "I was looking for progress primarily, and I think we have seen some."
And though Dennehy and his staff have used the past few weeks of spring training to improve the team's offense, it was the defense that was impressive early.
Early in the first quarter, Mountain Crest graduate Tyler Olsen recovered a fumble in the end zone after sophomore David Fiefia--cousin to graduating defensive end Vaea Fiefia--dropped a lateral.
The White team's second score came early in the second quarter thanks to a bad snap on a punt attempt by the Blue team. On its first play, senior white team quarterback Brian Benza found junior wide receiver Jerron Tatum for an 18-yard touchdown. Senior kicker Brad Bohn's point after attempt was good, making it 13-0.
But the Blue team would bounce back.
With first and 10 at the 30-yard-line, junior quarterback Jeff Crosbie handed off the ball to sophomore running back Travelle Gaines for a 7-yard gain. Crosbie then threw to junior receiver Emmett White for a first down. After White lost 1 yard from Crosbie's handoff on first and 10 at the 44-yard-line, Crosbie took to the air. The 57-yard pass to senior wide receiver Aaron Jones was tipped by sophomore cornerback Terrance Arnold, but Jones hauled it in and ran into the end zone. Bohn's PAT made it 7-13.
The Blue team's second touchdown came late in the third quarter.
In its 15-play, 84-yard drive, White carried the ball seven times, racking up 63 yards. White's carries included a 24-yard rumble from first and 10 at the 51, and an 11-yard touchdown run on second and 10 that was called back because of holding.
Junior running back John Roberts was the one who found the end zone on a handoff from Crosbie at third and goal at the 9-yard-line. Bohn's PAT put the blue team up 14-13.
The Blue team chalked up six more points late in the fourth quarter when Fiefia broke a number of tackles and rumbled in from 23 yards out. Bohn's fourth PAT attempt was good.
Leading the teams in rushing was White, who carried the ball eight times for 61 yards. Jones had four catches for 91 yards, and Crosbie led all quarterbacks--Benza, Jose Fuentes, Logan Galli and Travis Cox--by completing 4 of 6 attempts for 78 yards. Former quarterback Steve Mullins averaged 47.3 yards on his six punt attempts.
Dennehy said he was pleased with the team's efforts during spring training.
"I really think we made good progress all spring in all phases," Dennehy said. "I am very pleased overall."
The Aggies open their season at Texas Tech in Lubbock on Sept. 2.