Cooper Legas Preparing To Start For Utah State With Hillstead Injured

Oct 3, 2023, 1:53 PM | Updated: Oct 4, 2023, 10:21 am

LOGAN, Utah – With McCae Hillstead unable to practice after suffering a second-half concussion against UConn, Cooper Legas is preparing to take the snaps as Utah State gets ready to host Colorado State.

Utah State’s head coach Blake Anderson appeared on KSL Sports Zone to talk about his quarterback situation with Hans & Scotty G. on Tuesday, October 3.

RELATED: Utah State Not Going To Rush McCae Hillstead Back From Concussion

Anderson praised Legas for staying engaged in practices and the meeting room despite his demotion.

“That kid is a great teammate. He has done nothing but work his tail off since we made the change at Air Force. He’s still studying film as if he was the starter.”

RELATED: Utah State Struggling With Injuries As Mountain West Play Continues

“He knew at some point his opportunity was going to present itself,” Anderson said of the senior quarterback.

Legas’ moment came early in the third quarter when Hillstead was hit by two defenders after delivering a pass to Jalen Royals. The play drew a personal foul penalty against UConn and forced the Aggies starter from the game with a concussion.

Legas came in and threw three touchdowns on 11-of-13 passing for 204 yards and zero turnovers.

“I thought he did a great job. He made good decisions, didn’t put the ball in harm’s way, and threw the ball well. He was ready for that moment and we won a game because he’s ready for that moment.”

RELATED: Utah State Must Find A Way To Be More Physical Early In Games

Jalen Royals Gaining Confidence In Second Year

Junior wide receiver Jalen Royals flashed at times in USU’s first four games.

Five catches in the season opener at Iowa was a nice start. Touchdowns in back-to-back games against Idaho State and Air Force. A career-high seven catches against James Madison.

RELATED: Jalen Royals Finds End Zone As Utah State Fights Against Air Force

All of it set the stage for the 6’0, 195-pound wide receiver’s breakout game against UConn on Saturday. Royals devastated the Huskies secondary to the tune of seven catches and career-highs of 185 yards and three touchdowns. It was the first time he topped the century mark in receiving yards and his first multiple-touchdown game.

Royals is in his second season with USU after appearing in 11 games with Georgia Military College in 2021. Royals’ impact on the offense may be somewhat unexpected after he played in 12 games last season without recording a stat.

“Over the offseason, you saw a transformation in his confidence level, in his technique,” Anderson said. “He’s worked hard and learned a lot. You’re seeing a guy that is playing with a tremendously high confidence level, that has legit speed, hands, and the ability to understand what we’re asking him to do.”

With another season of eligibility remaining, Anderson is happy to have unearthed this hidden gem.

“We are really fortunate to have found him. I love having him here.”

Following The Aggies With KSL Sports Zone

Utah State (2-3, 0-1) welcomes Mountain West conference foe Colorado State (2-2) to Maverik Stadium on Saturday, October 7. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. (MT). USU is 37-39-2 all-time against the Rams but has won the last four matchups. The Aggies are 7-3 in the last ten games and look to move above .500 at home as they enter with a 20-20-1 record on Merlin Olsen Field.

USU football games are found on KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard and former Aggie quarterback Kevin White (1988-89) on the call.

KSL Sports coverage of Utah State University Athletics can be found here. 

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Cooper Legas Preparing To Start For Utah State With Hillstead Injured