2008 Spring Game Reviews - ACC
Clemson QB Cullen Harper
Clemson QB Cullen Harper
Posted May 5, 2008

What happened in the ACC spring games? John Harris reviews the final scrimmages of the spring season.

Spring Preview 2008

ACC Spring Game Reviews

Spring Game Reviews

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By John Harris


Boston College  

As former quarterback Matt Ryan prepared for draft day in New York City, the Eagles had business to attend to in the form of the annual Jay McGillis Memorial game.  And, the first matter at hand was finding a quarterback to replace Ryan in 2008.  Put Chris Crane’s name high up on the list.  He completed 18 of his 35 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown.  Injured linebacker Brian Toal, who missed all of 2007, racked up four tackles for the defense, while cornerback Razzie Smith had a 100 yard pick six as well.   


All-ACC candidate Cullen Harper led Orange squad to a 16-7 victory over the White in the annual Clemson Spring Game.  Harper completed 13 of 18 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns.  While running back James Davis and receiver Jacoby Ford sat out the scrimmage, star receiver Aaron Kelly had a solid outing catching eight passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Florida State 

Where have you heard this one before…the Florida State defense dominates, while the offense falters.  In front of nearly 30,000 attendees, the Gold (defense) beat the Garnet (offense) 22-12, getting the attention of head coach Bobby Bowden.  The team’s defensive front wore out the offense’s depleted offensive front throughout the scrimmage, as guys like Neefy Moffett (two sacks) and Kendall Smith (four tackles, two sacks and two TFLs) starred.  Redshirt freshman receiver Taiwan Easterling averaged nearly 17 yards per catch on five catches and was the closest thing the offense had to a ‘star’.


The annual spring game at Maryland turned into a whitewash as the White thumped the Red 27-3 behind the strong performance of running back Da’Rel Scott.  The sophomore runner led the way with 101 yards rushing and a touchdown for the White (he had an additional 12 yards on the ground for the Red), making a strong bid for the starting running back position.  Defensive back Jeff Allen registered eight tackles for the White and ten overall to lead the defensive effort on the day.

NC State 

Nothing like a nail biting finish in Raleigh for NC State’s annual spring contest.  The Red squad scored on the final play of the scrimmage to register a 23-21 win over the White.  With no time left on the clock, quarterback Justin Burke launched a 31-yard touchdown pass to tight end George Bryan for the win.  Burke, one of the three quarterbacks this spring vying for the starting position, completed 17 of 24 passes for 191 yards and the only two touchdown passes of the day.  Fellow Red quarterback Harrison Beck had a solid day as well, completing 65 % of his 20 passes for 158 yards.

Wake Forest 

The final Wake Forest spring scrimmage of the year featured strong play from all three quarterbacks – Riley Skinner, Brett Hodges and Ryan McManus.  Potential All-ACC quarterback Skinner had the best day completing 15 of 18 for 245 yards and two touchdowns.  Tight end Ben Wooster led all receivers with 138 yards on five catches, including a 35 yard scoring toss from Skinner and a 65-yard pitch and catch from Hodges. 



The David Cutcliffe era began this spring and concluded with a 14-3 White victory over the Blue in the annual spring game in Durham.  Running back Tony Jackson ran for 85 yards on only five carries, including the only offensive touchdown of the game.  Although he couldn’t get the Blue team in the end zone, quarterback Zack Asack made a strong bid for the starting quarterback position, which was once his a couple of years ago, with a 14-17, 107 yard performance.

Georgia Tech  

The Paul Johnson ‘spread option’ offense sputtered playing in front of a public audience for the first time.  The Blue team won the annual spring game 24-7, but didn’t get much help from its offense.  Both units struggled holding on to the ball early, but the myriad of quarterbacks in position for the starting job for the Blue did enough to put the ball in the end zone…through the air, mind you, for the win.  The Blue team was led by the number one defensive unit, which held the White in check as Josh Nesbitt and company had difficulty handling the ball in their new offense.


The defense defeated the offense 32-29 in the annual spring matchup, a contest that didn’t help clear up the quarterback competition in the slightest.  The defense got a tremendous performance from its true freshmen linebackers Arthur Brown, who had eight tackles and a pick and Sean Spence, who had two interceptions.  Offensively, running back Graig Cooper had a banner day running for 91 yards and two touchdowns, but the young quarterbacks, Robert Marve, Jacory Harris and Cannon Smith, didn’t leave a lasting impression in a race to become the number one signal caller.

North Carolina  

Although the team’s Saturday Spring Showcase was cancelled, the Tar Heels strapped it up for a final scrimmage to end the 15 practice spring session.  It was a scrimmage dominated by the team’s talented running backs – Greg Little, Ryan Houston and Devan Ramsey.  The trio combined for 137 yards on 31 carries, while each back scored a touchdown.  Quarterbacks Mike Paulus and Cam Sexton had solid outings as they battled one another for the starting job in the fall (TJ Yates was out all spring after shoulder surgery this past winter).


In the team’s final spring scrimmage of the season, the UVa quarterbacks had a field day, even without starting quarterback Jameel Sewell, who was not enrolled during the spring semester.  The offense threw the ball most of the scrimmage and Scott Deke, Mark Verica and Peter Lalich took advantage of the aerial circus to each make a bid for the starting position.  Deke, arguably, had the best day, completing 17 of 23 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns, while Verica finished 17 of 25 for 110 yards and a touchdown.

Virginia Tech 

One year after the tragic events of the spring of 2007, the Hokies took the field in the annual Maroon and White spring contest, as the starting quarterback tete-a-tete continued.  Quarterback Sean Glennon led the Maroon squad to a 24-3 win, hooking up with receiver Brandon Dillard for a 25 yard score in the first half.  Dillard also had a 49 yard run on a reverse to set up the Maroon team’s first touchdown.  Rising sophomore quarterback Tyrod Taylor struggled throughout the day for the White, throwing one interception and getting sacked three times.