By: Brian Rauf
Clemson and South Carolina each finished up spring practices and held their spring games this past weekend, and SportsTalk has covered those in-depth. 14 other schools in the ACC or SEC have also held their spring games up to this point, and here are some highlights from those games and who your team may have to watch out for next season.
Vanderbilt – Team Black 33-0 Team Gold
Team Black absolutely dominated Team Gold in Vandy’s spring game where their offense looked explosive. Returning starter Jordan Rodgers was at the helm of Team Black, completing 14-29 passes for 126 yards and threw 2 touchdowns to wide out Jordan Matthews, who had 7 rec, 105 yards.
Georgia – Red Team 32-31 Black Team
The Bulldogs played their spring game in front of 44,000+ fans, but the game was sloppy. Two-year starting quarterback Aaron Murray struggled for the Red Team, completing 7-17 passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. Tailback Ken Malcome led the Red Team with two rushing touchdowns, but only ran for 32 yards.
Florida – Blue Team 21-20 Orange Team
Gator fans at the Swamp got to see a hard-fought game, but everyone was focused on the quarterback play. Both Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel are trying to replace John Brantley, and head coach Will Muschamp had each play some for both teams. Driskel completed 12-14 passes for 147 yards and ran for 1 TD, while Brissett went 9-16 for 233 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Missouri – Reserves 34-10 Starters (1st half); Defense 5-3 Offense (2nd half)
Missouri, one of the two newcomers to the SEC for this upcoming season, played their spring game in a unique way. The first half pitted the starting offense and defense against all other strings in which the reserves started with a 14-0 lead, while the second half started with a 0-0 score, and changed to an offense vs. defense scrimmage. QB Ashton Glaser led the Reserves/Offense, completing 14-25 passes for 213 yards and 2 TD’s, while receiver Jimmie Hunt (Reserves/Offense) had 3 catches for 110 yards and 1 touchdown. Glaser is fighting for the backup quarterback job, as returning starter James Franklin did not play in the spring game due to an injury.
Alabama – White Team 24-15 Crimson Team
The defending national champs put on an exciting show for their fans as freshman running back T.J. Yeldon led White Team to a victory with 88 rush yards, 91 rush yards, and 1 receiving touchdown. Fans were hoping to see QB A.J. McCarron (Crimson Team) play well, which he did, going 29-42 for 304 yards and 2 TD’s, but did throw 3 interceptions.
Auburn – Blue Team (offense) 36-27 White Team (defense)
Auburn played their spring game strictly offense versus defense, with scoring as follows:
– Defensive Scoring – Touchdown, 7 pts. Turnover (unless TD), 6 pts. Sack, 4 pts. Tackle for loss, 2 pts. 3-and-out, 1 pt.
– Offensive Scoring – Touchdown, 6 pts. Field Goal, 3 pts. Explosive Play (15+ yards), 2 pts. Two consecutive first downs, 2 pts. PAT, 1 pt
RB Mike Blakely and QB Kiehl Frazier led the Blue team (offense) to the victory. Blakely ran the ball 5 times for 65 yards and 1 touchdown while Frazier went 7-9 for 92 yards.
LSU – White Team 24-17 Purple Team
The defending SEC champions were looking for solid quarterback play in their spring game, and they got it from Zach Mettenberger. Mettenberger led the White Team to the victory, completing 14-25 passes for 270 yards and 2 TD’s. WR Jarvis Landry also stood out for the White Team, catching 6 passes for 120 yards.
Miami – Orange Team 7-6 Green Team
The Hurricanes spring game was a rough one for fans to watch, as it was filled with turnovers and sloppy play. One bright spot the ‘Canes can take away was running back Mike James who scored the Orange Team’s only touchdown, while getting 15 carries for 57 yards.
Florida State – Garnet Team 35-20 Gold Team
The Seminoles have lofty expectations again this season as they look to regain the ACC dominance they had in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Returning starting QB E.J. Manuel was at the helm of the losing end in this one, but did throw 28-51 for 255 yards and 2 TD’s, and threw 1 interception. Backup quarterback Clint Trickett led the Garnet Team to a victory, going 12-23 for 173 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Boston College – Offense 68-58 Defense
The Eagles were another team that played a strictly offense versus defense game, and were awarded points for various plays: first downs (one point), explosive plays of 25 yards or more (two points), sacks (one point), pass breakups (one point) and turnovers (three points). Running back Rolandan Finch led the way for the offense, carrying the ball 27 times for 196 yards, and caught 4 passes for 38 yards.
Wake Forest – White Team 21-10 Black Team
The Demon Deacons held their spring game in front of a below average crowd. The White Team was able to pull out ahead of the Black, thanks to RB Josh Harris who had 6 rushes for 40 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Duke – White Team 38-24 Blue Team
The Blue Devils held a tightly contested spring game at Wallace Wade Stadium before the White Team was able to seal the win at the end. QB Brandon Connette led the White Team, going 4-7 for 83 yards and 1 passing touchdown, and also had 6 rushes for 54 yards and another score. RB Eric Adams also played well, turning 31 carries into 107 yards.
North Carolina – Blue Team 44–21 White Team
The Blue Team, led by returning starting quarterback Bryn Renner, put on a masterful display in the Tar Heel’s spring game. Renner completed 23-28 passes, totaling 295 yards and 2 TD’s, while RB Romar Morris also contributed with 9 rushes for 40 yards and 1 touchdown. Morris also had 3 catches totaling 35 yards and 2 scores. (The was not as close as the score appears; the White Team was spotted 14 points at halftime to try to make the game closer.)
Virginia – Orange Team 20-17 Blue Team
The Cavaliers held a competitive spring game, which was won by the Orange Team led by QB Michael Rocco’s 12-21, 191 yard performance. Running back Khalek Sheppard played well for the Blue Team, running for 102 yards and 1 touchdown.