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Big plays aplenty in football’s Blue-White Spring Game

On April 25, 2011

Romney stadium was a house divided Saturday as the Utah State football team split into two squads for the annual Blue-White Spring Game. Quarterbacks Adam Kennedy and Alex Hart showcased their talents in competition to win the starting spot for the 2011 season as the Blue beat the White 33-7 on Merlin Olsen Field.

Both quarterbacks stood out as playmakers, combining for 484 yards through the air and three touchdowns.

Kennedy said he is looking forward to playing strong in the fall.

"I think that everyone can see how explosive the offense can clearly be," Kennedy said.

Kennedy and Hart threw one interception apiece. USU head coach Gary Andersen said some of the big plays on offense were positives and isn't sure who outplayed who today.

"There were some ups and downs in both of those spots for those two young men," Andersen said. "We will look at the film and evaluate it hard."

While he has not yet named a starting quarterback, Andersen said the decision will be made no later than a week and a half into the fall.

"We will let them compete for the spot a little bit in the fall," Andersen said. "We will continue to let them battle it out throughout the summer. That should help them. We will see what kind of leadership they have."

Both quarterbacks had 19 completions, but Hart proved to be slightly more efficient with two touchdowns and 261 yards in 27 attempts while Kennedy had one touchdown as he tossed for 223 yards in 33 attempts.

Hart said the competition for the starting role is great to have.

"If they were to name a starter right off the bat we would get lackadaisical, so it's good to push us both," Hart said. "It will push us a lot more and will get us that much better and I think it's good not to name a starter yet."

On the receiving end there were several who stood out as playmakers for the Aggies. Senior Eric Moats had seven catches for 118 yards including one 42-yard touchdown pass for the White. Martin led all receivers with 11 catches for 145 yards for the Blue. Travis Reynolds caught a 15-yard Kennedy pass in the end zone for a touchdown. Freshman tight end Keegan Andersen caught a 36-yard touchdown pass from Hart to cap off an 84-yard scoring drive.

Moats, a transfer from the Air Force Academy in 2008, also commented on the quarterback race.

"I think that they both did really well," Moats said. "They are shuffling in there with different linemen, different receivers, different backs every other series but Alex and Adam both did a really good job. It is going to be tough come summertime to pick one to be the go-to-guy in the fall."

Andersen held no blitz back as he tested the two potential generals. Nine players recorded a total of 13 sacks on defense, swarming to ball carriers from their new 3-4 formation. Andersen said he got what he was looking for, despite holding out several key players such as senior linebacker Kyle Gallagher and WAC leading-tackler Bobby Wagner to protect them from injury.

"With the Blues being the first team and the Whites being the second team you would think it would be a lopsided match-up and it was," Andersen said. "If you sit down and look at it there were about 15 or 16 kids that did not play today. It is a great opportunity to see, whether it's Blue or White, to see some young men that haven't played a lot of football in those real live situations."

Freshman linebacker Parker Hausknecht led either team with three sacks. Sophomore linebacker Jake Doughty led the Blue with eight tackles and two sacks. Senior safety Walter McClenton of the Blue picked off a Kennedy pass and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.

"Overall as a defense I felt like we had a pretty good day," McClenton said. "We were swarming to the ball today against the offense and according to some of the other safeties on the White side, they felt like they had a good scrimmage as well."

Andersen said the field goal kicking took a major step backwards. Sophomore kicker Nick Diaz missed two extra point attempts and redshirt freshman placekicker Jaron Bentude missed two field goals from the left hash.

"The kicking game is a huge concern for all of us right now," Andersen said. "Bottom line is, we'll go out and work to recruit a kicker at this point."

With the conclusion of spring practices, the Aggies will enter summer conditioning and training camp. USU will travel to Alabama for the first game of the season, taking on the defending national champion Auburn Tigers on Saturday, Sept. 3. The first home game will be against Weber State on Sept. 10 at 6 p.m.

- tavin.stucki@aggiemail.usu.edu

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