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Role players step up in Utah State's scrimmage

Published April 11, 2013 8:44 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Logan • He's not in the discussion of Utah State legends, but Joey DeMartino has carved out a solid career as an Aggie.

And on Thursday afternoon, the senior helped hammer in that point with three touchdowns in the team's third spring scrimmage.

Those aren't numbers that will stand the test of time, but it's an indication of how he — and other second- and third-string guys hunting for contributing roles this fall — has worked to be the kind of player who helps Utah State win games.

"I've been behind some really good backs: Robert Turbin, Michael Smith and Kerwynn Williams," DeMartino said. "We just kind of built a tradition here from when we were younger and we just want to keep carrying it on."

Some of the biggest highlights in Utah State's latest situational scrimmage came from the backups and role players who are trying to prove themselves. Brandon Swindall caught six passes for 87 yards, and Dwayne Lorrick caught five, including a breakaway 64-yard touchdown.

Chuckie Keeton was consistent as he's been all spring, finishing with 127 yards and a passing score, but backup Craig Harrison also showed significant improvement with a 13-for-16 day. He notably led a 70-yard two-minute drill in only six plays, showing more poise than in Wednesday's more one-sided practice.

Coach Matt Wells called out the offense Wednesday morning, and he was glad to see they heard him.

"I think they responded right out of the gate," Wells said. "They drove the ball down, and they hit some good drives. I saw some guys step up. We're always striving for perfection, but I thought they played pretty good today."

The offense had more successful finishes than the defense did Thursday, scoring six touchdowns and a field goal between all the units.

But the defense was not without the plays that made the unit so fearsome last season. The pass rush was tough again, combining for 10 tackles for a loss on roughly 100 snaps, including three sacks. Kyler Fackrell seemed to be in on many of the first-team plays, and Terrell Thompson helped make third- and fourth-down plays that gave the first team offense a four-and-out on its two-minute drill.

The defensive line was sound as well. Jordan Nielsen laid out Lorick in the end zone, forcing a fumble. Ricky Ali'ifua was in the backfield often on the defensive line with three tackles for a loss, but had to be carried off the practice field after suffering an injury toward the end of the scrimmage.

The Aggies will play the program's spring exhibition next Saturday at 2 p.m.

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon —

Aggies' offense shines

• Joey DeMartino scores three touchdowns and gains 47 yards on just eight carries.

• The Aggies' quarterbacks go a combined 33 for 41 for 338 yards and two touchdowns.

• Frankie Sutera and Alex Marsaw lead the defense with eight tackles apiece.