For years, Utah State was the laughingstock of the Utah college football community, suffering through year after year of ineptitude and lots of coaching changes.
Now, the focus is on making the Aggie football program a winner, something that head coach Gary Andersen–a former Utah assistant–knows all too well.
And while the Aggies are making progress, a quick look at Tuesday’s scrimmage tells the average fan that Utah State still has a ways to go.
For starters, incumbent quarterback Diondre Borel should have had the best numbers on the day at his position, but did not (5-for-13 for 61 yards and one TD), with the honor instead going to freshman Jeremy Higgins, brother of Weber State star Cameron.
Cameron’s little bro threw 8 completions on 13 attempts for 102 yards. Borel was even overshadowed by senior Jeff Fischer, who threw for 94 yards on 5-for-9 passing and one touchdown, a 6-yard toss.
It was not a good day in the red zone for the Aggie offense–Borel had several decent attempts but only came up with one good play, a 17-yard strike for a TD. Combined, the Utah State quarterbacks only threw one interception. Overall, reaction on the two-minute drill was mixed.
“We get on the one-inch line and the one-yard line a couple times and we had to throw the ball to score. We’ll work on that,“ Andersen said.
Receiving suffered from the ineptitude in the offense as well, as JUCO transfer Matt Austin was the only bright spot, catching three passes for 41 yards and a touchdown.
“I’m comfortable with a lot of them. Eric Moats has been here playing, Travis Reynolds, Dontel Watkins, Matt [Austin], Xavier Martin they will go get the ball. O.J. (Emmanual Ojeriakhi) is a great player and he’s got size like the other guys,” Borel said.
Otherwise, it was a banner day in the kicking game.
Senior kicker/punter Peter Caldwell blasted through seven field goals without a miss including a 50-yarder, a good thing considering the Aggie offense had an off day.
The running game showed a few bright spots. Michael Smith had 11 carries for 40 yards and a touchdown and sophomore Kerwynn Williams had 49 yards on six rushes.
The focus of the day seemed to be on defense, where everyone got into the act. 16 tackles for a loss and nine sacks as a unit contributed to a miserable day for Utah State’s attack.