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Conclusion of spring season

By Jeffrey Dahdah
On April 14, 2014

The Utah State football team concluded its spring season with the annual Blue and White spring game Saturday at Romney Stadium. The game was ultimately won by the offense, or blue team, with a last second, 39-yard field goal by senior placekicker Nick Diaz.

“We tried to create some excitement and get it down to the end,” said head coach Matt Wells. “To see Nick Diaz hit a game-winning field goal is cool and a neat way to end the spring.”

The game used a special scoring system that gave the defense points for things such as sacks and turnovers and the offense points for things such as scoring and big plays.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Tanner Curtis led the final drive to set up the game-winning field goal in his only possession of the game, going 3-3 for 49 yards. The final field goal was initially blocked by junior La’Bradford Harold, but a roughing the kicker penalty gave Diaz and the offense another chance.

“It actually came down to that a lot in the last couple of years, in Wisconsin, that missed field goal to win the game,” said sophomore running back Kennedy Williams. “That’s definitely a key thing to work on and get better at. We can’t have any miscues with the snaps. We have to make sure we get the ball down and get a good kick.”

Offensively, the running back tandem of Williams and junior Rashad Hall stole the show. Hall had 124 yards and Williams had 95.

“First of all, I want to talk about the offensive line,” Williams said. “They did a really good job today giving us a good push. Our guards on our inside zone were pushing really good today.”

Hall also gave credit to his line.

“To be honest, I give it all to my offensive line,” Hall said. “Anybody could have done what I did. I just saw the hole and I took it. But my offensive line gets all the credit.”

Wells was happy with the offensive line.

“I’m pleased with the offensive line. I thought they did some nice stuff,” he said. “We had a lot of losses right there from graduation, so that’s the biggest thing.”

Hall broke out in the second half with a 78-yard run up the middle, but he was chased down by the another standout of the game, sophomore safety Devin Centers.

“I feel like that shouldn’t have even happened, but plays happen,” Centers said. “I thought he was getting away from me for a second though. I had to turn it on just a little bit more and go get him.”

Centers had an interception that he returned roughly 80 yards to the two-yard line, a forced fumble on the goal line off a long pass play and four tackles.

“He’s around the ball and he’s in the right place at the right time,” Wells said. “Coach (Todd) Orlando is playing him in a bunch of different positions. He’s going to be a really good player for us on defense.”

Centers converted to safety from corner this spring and has excelled in the new position.

“The coaches feel like I could play anywhere,” Centers said. “So wherever they need me to play at, they’re going to send me in there and I’ll compete and do what we need.”

Other standouts in the game were junior linebacker Kyler Fackrell, who had two sacks, and junior receiver Brandon Swindall, who had three receptions for 71 yards and a touchdown.

Sophomore quarterback Darell Garretson went 11-26 for 221 yards and two touchdowns while senior quarterback Craig Harrison went 13-27 for 145 yards and an interception.

What won’t show up on a stat sheet was the level of competition between the offense and the defense, giving the scrimmage more of a game feel.

“I think it’s healthy. I think our kids really know how to practice against each other and I’m really happy with that. That’s a hard culture to create to have the competitive spirit combined with the competitive nature,” Wells said. “Our guys are very competitive, and they leave it on the field. I think that will make us a strong team come the fall.”
Twitter: @dahdahusu


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