USU football: Stars absent, but fans aplenty in scrimmage
Logan • The thousands of fans who came out to Utah State's final scrimmage didn't get to see too much on-field action from the team's biggest stars.
But that didn't mean they didn't get to see the team they did after the scrimmage, at autograph tables, playing catch with them in the south end zone, shaking their hands in a feel-good pause after the pads had come off.
Sure, the fans didn't see the same type of action they'll see on Saturdays this fall. But Aggies still came out to show they're invested in the program. And coach Matt Wells wants to pay back the love.
"I think it's maybe a reflection of where we're at, the excitement going into the Mountain West, and the young men we've got coming back into the program," Wells said. "It's what we want every time we do something like this and reach out to the community. They wrap their arms around our players, and hopefully our program is a reflection of the community and the hard work."
There were highlights to the hour-and-a-half evening session, even though key starters, such as Chuckie Keeton and Joe Hill, sat out of the full team portion of Saturday's scrimmage. The team's reserves made some of their last shots for contributing roles this season, as the coaching staff looks to pick out redshirts this weekend.
The quarterbacks who did get snaps each had highlights. Craig Harrison had two of the biggest passes of the night, including a 30-yard touchdown along the sideline. Freshman Darell Garretson was 9 for 11 with a game-high 122 yards passing. Jeff Manning faked out the crowd with a 36-yard touchdown run on a fake handoff.
"The coaches warned us going in that it was a big competition day," Harrison said. "I feel like I was able to come out and do exactly what they wanted me to do: run the tempo of the offense and put the ball down the field."
Both touchdown passes were to freshman Braelon Roberts, who used his length to be the top end-zone target. Travis Reynolds led the receiving corps with 62 yards on two catches, including a 44-yard heave from Garretson that he had to jump over Jeremy Morris for.
The defense did struggle to stop some of the explosive plays, but was again stout in run defense, giving up only 54 total yards. The unit also got its first interception of any of its fall scrimmages, as Cameron Sanders picked off a wayward pass by Jordan Brown.
"We expected to have a big crowd today," Sanders said. "Everybody wanted to come out and see what we've got and how we look for this year, and we just wanted to give them a show."
Sanders, a senior, hopes he has a few more memorable moments in store for Aggies fans this year.
Saturday's scrimmage standouts
Darell Garretson • 9-for-11 passing, 122 yards, 1 touchdown
Braelon Roberts • three catches, 52 yards, two touchdowns
Keylon Hollis • two TFL, one sack, one pass breakup