Utah State football: Joey DeMartino's big night against Weber State highlights his long journey
Logan • There were days, Joey DeMartino said, when he didn't know if he could stick with the game.
Frustrating days. Days that made him wonder if he was going the right direction.
Those times seem so long ago now, especially after the senior running back put up career-best numbers in Saturday's 70-6 win over Weber State. He ducked through holes, broke tackles, and even outsprinted the Wildcat defense on one particular 60-yard touchdown run, the last of his three scores.
It seemed unbelievable to him that so much could've changed in less than a year.
"It's a dream come true," he said. "There's been so many days I didn't know. I'd just keep fighting, didn't know if I wanted to do this anymore. To come around, the support of my family and my girlfriend kept me fighting every day. I'm really excited out here just playing."
DeMartino didn't know what his role was last season. He didn't appear to have one.
He emerged from a long-term injury that kept him benched until the middle of the year, when Kerwynn Williams had become the featured back. Joe Hill had a solid grasp on the back-up job.
If DeMartino wanted to make an impact, coaches told him, he had to do it on special teams. He called that moment his turning point.
"Ever since the seventh game going in, I just remember taking off," he said. "This confidence would come about me."
His teammates have taken note of his transformation. Several have said he was one of the hardest offseason workers. Chuckie Keeton said DeMartino has been a playbook geek, and hasn't missed a lot - if any - assignments.
With 105 yards on eight carries against Weber State, the Aggies were eager to celebrate DeMartino's successes with him. Coach Matt Wells said he was proud and happy for him. Keeton said the breakout game was "long overdue."
"Ultimately he's playing good football and producing," he said. "That's all we need."
A closer look
Joey DeMartino breaks out at running back:
• The senior puts up career-bests of 105 yards and three touchdowns.
• He has the team's longest running play, a 60-yard touchdown run.