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Aggies defense looks strong during spring game

LOGAN, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - The Utah State defense outshined the offense in the annual Blue-White spring game at Romney Stadium.
LOGAN, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - Utah State’s defense recorded two interceptions and recovered a fumble en route to a convincing 59-39 win against the Aggie offense in front of approximately 3,000 fans here Saturday on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium in the annual Blue vs. White Spring Game.

With a special scoring system, the offense got six points for a touchdown, three points for a field goal, two points for a rush of 15 or more yards, two points for a pass of 20 or more yards, one point for a first down and one or two points for respective conversions. The defense earned six points for a touchdown, five points for a turnover, three points for a three-and-out, three points for a blocked field goal, two points for a stopped drive, sack or tackle for loss, as well as one or two points for failed respective conversions.

Senior cornerback Tay Glover-Wright and sophomore linebacker La’Bradford Harold each recorded interceptions on the day, while redshirt freshman linebacker Nick Vigil recovered a fumble and returned it 43 yards to highlight USU’s defense.

In all, the Aggie defense registered five sacks and seven tackles for loss during the spring game, to go along with seven pass breakups and two quarterback hurries.

Offensively, senior running back Joey DeMartino continued his impressive play during the spring as he carried the ball 16 times for 100 yards, while sophomore wide receiver Brandon Swindall caught four passes for 43 yards and senior wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen had five catches for 33 yards including a touchdown. Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton completed 15-of-29 passes for 103 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while fellow junior quarterback Craig Harrison completed 13-of-28 passes for 103 yards and one interception.

Utah State’s first team offense scored on its initial drive of the game as junior placekicker Nick Diaz made a 32-yard field goal to cap a 10-play, 45-yard drive. USU’s only other scoring drive on the day came on a 2-yard pass from Keeton to Van Leeuwen as the offense started on the defense’s three yard-line.

Other highlights on the defensive side of the ball included two sacks by Nick Vigil, while Glover-Wright finished with a team-best six tackles. Redshirt freshman cornerback Marquan Ellison added five tackles to go along with a sack and a pass breakup, while senior safety Maurice Alexander, redshirt freshman linebacker Travis Parrish and Harold each notched four tackles.

Utah State returns 18 starters (O-8, D-7, S-3) and 49 letterwinners (O-23, D-22, S-4) from last year's 11-2 Western Athletic Conference and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Championship team that ended the year ranked 16th in the final Associated Press Poll and 22nd in the final Bowl Championship Series Standings.

Among those returning for Utah State include 10 players who earned various all-WAC accolades a year ago as senior linebacker Jake Doughty, sophomore linebacker Kyler Fackrell, junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton, senior offensive center Tyler Larsen and senior offensive tackle Eric Schultz were all named to the first-team, while senior cornerback Nevin Lawson, senior offensive guard Jamie Markosian, sophomore defensive tackle Jordan Nielsen and junior linebacker Zach Vigil were all named to the second-team, and senior defensive tackle Connor Williams was named to the honorable mention team.

Utah State will open the 2013 season on Thursday, Aug. 29 at Utah and play its first Mountain West game the following weekend at Air Force on Saturday, Sept.7.
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