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Logan • Aggies senior Kent Myers solidified his position as the team's starting quarterback while slicing through the defense with his legs as well as his arm, and the defense showed encouraging signs of progress in its last formal outing of the spring.
The Utah State defense came out on top of the annual Blue-White spring game, 75-64, on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium on Saturday. The threat of lightning prompted USU to move up the start to 12:30 p.m. from its originally scheduled 2 p.m. start.
The game used a scoring system that awarded points for positive defensive plays (stopped drives, three-and-outs, turnovers, sacks, tackles for a loss, safety's, defensive touchdowns) and positive offensive plays (runs of 15 yards or more, passes of 20 yards or more, first downs, touchdowns, field goals).
The Aggies defense, which has to replace four starters between its line and linebackers, allowed only one score in the second half of the game, and that came when the offense had a short field (35 yards).
In the second half, the defense intercepted two passes (including one on the final drive of the game), forced the offense to go three-and-out on one possession, and stuffed the offense on fourth-and-goal on another.
"[The defense] played better in the second half," Aggies fifth-year coach Matt Wells said. "The scoring system helps out with when you get some [tackles for a loss] and some sacks and those kind of things, but it was kind of give and take. A lot of the younger players played in the second half, and that's always fun to see the competitiveness of them individually and then both sides going back and forth. I didn't have to manufacture the score today. It came down to the wire."
Junior nose guard Gasetoto "G-Mac" Schuster, a 6-foot tall, 290-pound Long Beach resident, wrapped up an impressive spring season with three tackles for a loss (two sacks). He's one of several returning defensive players who took on bigger roles this spring.
Junior linebacker Chase Christiansen led the defense with nine tackles, while Wesley Bailey and Patrick Lee Miranda intercepted passes. The defense registered five sacks and 14 tackles for a loss.
"You kind of get used to each other and kind of get used to playing with each other the more that you do it," Christiansen said. "I think a big component of spring is building on the camaraderie and getting used to playing together. As spring goes on, that's something that just developed. It's been something that's been needed, so it's good to see us starting to come together like that."
The offense controlled play in the first quarter and a large part of the first half. Myers, who did not play in the second half, led the offense on a 10-play, 80-yard opening drive, which he capped with a 21-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Gerold Bright (five catches, 77 yards). Myers completed all six of his pass attempts on the drive for 69 yards with five receivers recording catches.
Myers, who went 10-for-12 passing in the game, set up the only other offensive touchdown in the first half with an 85-yard run down to the 2-yard line. Justen Hervey (17 carries, 46 yards) punched it in from there.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Jordan Love, who split time in the second half with DJ Nelson, went 19 for 31 passing and threw for 236 yards and one interception. Nelson was 11 for 18 for 99 yards and one interception. The Aggies, who installed a new offense this spring under new coordinator David Host, passed for 428 yards and rushed for 135.
"Really, it's simple offense," Myers said. "You've just go to go out there and really invest, and really take everything in practice and translate it into the game. When we do that we can score a lot of points."
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R The Utah State defense bests the offense in the program's annual Blue-White spring game. The game is played under a scoring system that awards points to the offense or defense based on positive plays for one unit or the other.
• Aggies quarterback Kent Myers passes for 93 yards and one touchdown, and rushes for 70 yards while playing only in the first half of the game.
• The Aggies defense records five sacks and intercepts two passes, most of that damage coming with Myers off the field. LB Chase Christiansen makes nine tackles.