MOREHEAD - The Morehead State University football team closed out spring practice with an exhibition game on Saturday afternoon at Jayne Stadium. More than 2,000 fans turned out for the contest, which showcased approximately 70 student-athletes.
“I am excited about the progress we’ve made throughout the spring,” Head Coach Rob Tenyer said. “Offensively we had a slow start today, but we eventually settled in and sustained some drives. I was happy how we finished in the red zone, but we need to play faster overall.”
The format called for four 15-minute quarters, with the clock only stopping on kicking plays, penalties and timeouts. The tilt was played under sunny skies and temperatures in the high 50s.
“The phase of the game I am most excited about right now is our defense,” Tenyer said. “Our players have digested the new system well so far. Our guys have been showing tremendous effort, and it’s obvious they want to improve on defense this year.”
The white team was always on offense, while the blue team was always on defense. Quarterback Boone Goldsmith, who will be a redshirt junior in the fall, led the first string. Quarterback Logan Johnson, who will be a redshirt freshman, led the second and third strings.
“We need to work more on communication,” Tenyer said. “We have several players who redshirted last season and others who didn’t see too many reps. We need to get everyone into a rhythm and make sure we are communicating on every down.”
Nearly 50 former football players were recognized at halftime, along with guest coaches Dan Gooch, Nick Nighswander and Bill Baldridge. Tailgating, which included more than 500 Eagle fans, began at 10 a.m. The game lasted approximately two hours.
“Today was a terrific day for Morehead State football,” Tenyer added. “From the tailgate area to fans in the stands and players on the field, I could tell there was more energy than we have had in recent seasons. We’re all excited about this program moving forward.”
EKU Spring Game: Maroon 31, White 25
RICHMOND – There were plenty of fireworks in the 2013 edition of the Eastern Kentucky University football spring game as the Maroon team finished with a 31-25 victory over the White squad Saturday afternoon at Roy Kidd Stadium.
Redshirt freshman running back Jared Sanders was one of the standouts for the Maroon team. He finished with 17 carries for 102 yards. Sanders opened the scoring with a two-yard touchdown run on the Maroon’s second possession. Fellow redshirt freshman Devin Borders chipped in with three catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns.
Sophomore wide receiver Jeff Glover highlighted the White effort with eight receptions for 214 yards. Glover twice hauled in catches longer than 50 yards.
After junior running back Caleb Watkins gave the Maroon team a 14-0 lead in the second quarter, the White team immediately bounced back. Newcomer Thomas Owens burst up the middle of the field untouched for a 62-yard scoring run to cut the deficit to 14-6 at the half.
The third quarter was full of big plays including two trick plays that got the crowd buzzing. On the White’s first play from scrimmage, senior wide receiver Ben De La Cruz took a sweep hand-off and found Glover behind the defense for a 56-yard pass play. Junior kicker Andrew Lloyd then made a 32-yard field goal four plays later to make the score, 14-9.
A few minutes later, Glover got behind the Maroon defense again and redshirt freshman quarterback Kyle Romano found him for a 68-yard play to the one-yard line. Redshirt freshman J.J. Jude went over the defense on the ensuing play to put the White team on top, 15-14.
The Maroon team wasted little time in its response as it executed its own wide receiver pass. Sophomore Seth Dotson took a sweep left hand-off and connected with Borders for a 70-yard touchdown barely a minute after the White team scored.
Borders then put the Maroons ahead by 10 points, 28-18, when redshirt freshman quarterback Ben Lawler hit him for a 19-yard score early in the fourth quarter.
Any thoughts of a White comeback ended when senior defensive lineman Shawn Shupperd sacked Romano on 4th-and-2 near midfield with 4:16 remaining.
Both top quarterbacks played well in the team’s final spring scrimmage. Junior Jared McClain went 5-for-9 for 64 yards for the Maroons. On the White side, Romano completed 12-of-20 passes for 189 yards and a score.
Junior all-conference defensive back Brandon Stanley (Maroon) led all players with seven tackles. All-OVC linebacker Ichiro Vance tallied six stops for the White team.
EKU will kick off the 2013 season with a Thursday night home opener against Robert Morris on Aug. 29.