2008 Spring Game Reviews - Big 12
Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford
Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford
Posted May 5, 2008

What happened in the Big 12 spring games? John Harris reviews the final scrimmages of the spring season.

Spring Preview 2008

Big 12 Spring Game Reviews

Spring Game Reviews

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By John Harris



The annual Black and Gold spring game was highlighted by strong quarterback play, including 2007 starting quarterback Cody Hawkins.  The Black defeated the Gold 28-17 behind a 15 of 22/185 yard/two touchdown performance for Hawkins.  The installation of the new no-huddle, hurry-up offense went well for the offense this spring, as evidenced by the quarterbacks’ effort.  The spotlight was also on the running backs this spring, with stud recruit Darrell Scott arriving this summer, and as a group, they performed adequately, led by Demetrius Sumler who had 43 yards on eleven carries.

Iowa State  

With four year starting quarterback Bret Meyer finally out from under center, the focus of the final scrimmage for the Cyclones was to find their offensive leader.  Austen Arnaud threw for a touchdown, but only completed 33% of his passes and threw three interceptions.  His counterpart Philip Bates had a much better performance, completing 15 of 27 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns.  Running back Alexander Robinson garnered the praise of head coach Gene Chizik after his 13 carry, 58 yard performance.


In the team’s annual Blue and White spring game, the Blue came out on top 17-3.  Although All Big 12 candidate quarterback Todd Reesing played the majority of the game for the Blue, the defense was the star of the show, forcing two interceptions by the gritty Jayhawk signal caller.  In all, both defenses generated four turnovers, including the Blue’s first touchdown, a 23-yard fumble return by defensive back Kendrick Harper. 

Kansas State 

Well, the points weren’t plentiful, that’s for sure.  The annual Purple and White spring game was a slugfest with the only points coming on a 51 yard field goal by Josh Cherry to give the White a 3-0 win.  The offensive star of the game was the Purple’s Keithen Valentine who ran for more yards (104) than the White gained (76) all day long.  The White defense was led by Virginia transfer linebacker Olu Hall who had five tackles on the day.


The buzz in Columbia is as loud as it’s ever been and it was evident for the spring game – televised on ESPNU with over 26,000 in attendance.  What they saw was nearly the same thing they saw at the end of the 2007 season and a 71-28 win for the offense.  Heisman candidate Chase Daniel was his usual prolific self, completing 22 of 28 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns.  And, in another non-surprise, wide receiver Jemery Maclin had six receptions for 52 yards and a touchdown.  However, the defense took some hits this spring, in particular linebacker Van Alexander who went down with a torn knee ligament.


Think the Big Red fans are a weeeee bit excited?  80,000 turned out for the annual red and white spring game to see new head coach Bo Pelini’s charges take the field.  Starting quarterback Joe Ganz completed only four passes on the day, but they were memorable as the Red defeated the White 24-14.  Ganz threw for a 77 yard touchdown to Cureski Gilleylan and a 24 yard touchdown to Marcus Mendoza for two of the three Red touchdowns.



Art Briles’ Baylor Bears finished spring practice with a final scrimmage in lieu of a traditional spring game.  Running back Jay Finley was the star of the scrimmage, rushing for 73 yards and a touchdown, but it may have been the rookie who stole the show.  That rookie is quarterback Robert Griffin, the January enrollee from Copperas Cove.  Griffin, who graduated from high school early, completed five of nine passes for 66 yards and showed off his wheels as well, rushing for 30 yards on five carries.  He still may not start at quarterback in 2008, but his showing gave fans a glimpse of what to expect in the not-so-distant future.


In the team’s final scrimmage of the spring season, the defense more than held its own against quarterback Sam Bradford and company, scoring three times on three ‘pick sixes’.  Soon-to-be starting cornerback Dominique Franks kicked off the pick six parade with a 57-yarder off of Bradford and then added two other interceptions on the day.  The secondary has the most holes to fill on this squad; considering the fact Franks and fellow corner Jonathan Nelson (an 81-yard interception for a touchdown) had strong days spoke volumes as to why head coach Bob Stoops felt so good about his back four.

Oklahoma State  

Nearly 20,000 people showed up to see the Orange defeat the White 9-7 in the team’s annual spring game.  Seb Clements came up with his only tackle for a loss on the day, one that resulted in a safety and the game clinching two points.  Clements had a strong day with five tackles and the aforementioned safety, but Jamie Blatnick was just as dominant coming up with three sacks to lead the Orange.  Orange running backs Melvin Davis and Kelvin Hunter ran for a combined 142 yards to lead the victors.


In a completely new spring game format, the North defeated the South 14-10, while the ground attack took center stage on the day.  Quarterback John Chiles, known for his game-breaking ability, rushed for 75 yards on nine carries, while running back Foswhitt Whittaker accounted for two touchdowns rushing (eight carries, 43 yards).  The defense proved to be more physical under new defensive coordinator Will Muschamp at the helm and was led by linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy, a player Texas fans have been waiting to see take the next step for a while now.

Texas A&M 

Perhaps making a statement for the new coaching staff or for the doubters out there, running back Mike Goodson accounted for 58 yards on eight carries to set the tone for the entire scrimmage.  Goodson’s Texas A&M squad defeated the Aggies 14-3 in the first half, while the second half was devoted to ‘situational’ football.  Goodson wasn’t without peer during the spring game as redshirt freshman Bradley Stephens impressed, as did Cornell Tarrant, who had a 40-yard touchdown run down the sideline.

Texas Tech  

Although it wasn’t the last time the Red Raiders offense and defense swapped paint for the spring, the defense beat the offense 29-23 in the annual Red-Black game in Lubbock.  The revamped defensive line had a stellar day.  Juco transfer McKinner Dixon had a pair of sacks, while Richard Jones led the way with three.  Quarterback Graham Harrell completed 17 of 29 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown to star receiver Michael Crabtree.  But, head coach Mike Leach wasn’t happy with the offense’s output to say the least.  Hello, Monday scrimmage.