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2008 Spring Game Reviews - Conference USA
Posted May 5, 2008

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

Spring Preview 2008

Conference USA Spring Game Reviews

Spring Game Reviews

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By John Harris


East Carolina  

The Pirates didn’t get much work done during their annual Purple-Gold game as a severe weather warning shut down the contest at halftime with the Pirates defeating East Carolina 13-3.  However, the team’s quarterbacks did play well in the shortened contest.  Patrick Pinkney and Rob Kass combined for 175 yards passing as the two continued the battle for the starting position.  Pinkney threw for the only touchdown of the day, a 38-yarder to Darryl Freeney.


The Green had its way with the White 44-8 in the annual Green and White spring game.  Green running back Terrell Edwards was the “one” in the one-two offensive combination, while quarterback Mark Cann was the “two”.  When Cann wasn’t completing 16 of 21 passes for 181 yards, Edwards was running for touchdowns, three of them to be exact.  Edwards averaged 5.5 yards per carry on 14 carries as the Green dominated throughout the game.  Running back Kelvin Turner played for both squads, but when he put on the green, he ran for 85 yards on five carries and a touchdown.


The annual Blue-Gray spring game wasn’t a sexy affair, more like a typical offense-defense scrimmage, but it was the final chance this spring to find a starting quarterback.  Arkelon Hall had perhaps the most productive day, throwing for 60 yards and a touchdown, in addition to rushing for 51 yards and a couple of touchdowns.  Running back Curtis Steele was named the game’s offensive MVP as he rushed for 94 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries, while defensive lineman Steven Turner was the game’s defensive MVP.

Southern Miss 

It’s been a long while since Golden Eagle fans have seen an explosive offense on the field, but new head coach Larry Fedora worked this spring to provide just that, especially in the team’s annual Black and Gold spring game.  The Black team defeated the Gold 31-14, led by potential All-American running back Damion Fletcher, who accounted for 185 yards total offense and a touchdown.  Quarterback Austin Davis was another key figure for the Black as he completed 17 of 23 for 207 yards and ran for a touchdown.


The Blazer offense and defense went head-to-head in the final session of the spring.  In a four 12-minute quarter scrimmage, the two units did battle with, well, fine play on both sides.  The coaching staff left the scrimmage happy with number one quarterback Joe Webb who completed 14 of 27 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns in only one half of play.  On the defensive side of the ball, sophomore defensive back Brock Ferguson picked off Blazer quarterbacks twice during the scrimmage.


In the first spring game played in Brighthouse Networks Stadium, UCF beat the Golden Knights 16-7.  UCF’s only offensive touchdown, the only one of the day on either side, came on a 32 yard toss from Joe Weatherford to receiver Rocky Ross.  Weatherford finished the day seven of 15 for 148 yards and a touchdown.  The defense was strong on both sides, yielding only one touchdown all day and registering one in the process.  Golden Knight defender Darin Baldwin scooped up a fumbled and ran 19 yards to give the Golden Knights their only score on the day.



Nothing like getting people’s attention immediately.  New head coach Kevin Sumlin took the reins for this Houston team after Art Briles moved on to Baylor and his offense made a significant statement during the team’s annual spring game.  The offense defeated the defense 69-34 and generated 660 yards of total offense in the process.  Quarterback Blake Joseph made the most of his reps in the new offense, completing 37 of 41 passes for 421 yards and five touchdowns.  2007 CUSA Freshman of the Year Case Keenum had a similarly good day, going 28 of 35 for 205 yards and a pair of touchdowns.


The annual Blue-Gray scrimmage was a nail-biter as the offense won on the final play of the game, an 18-yard pass from quarterback Chase Clement to receiver Tommy Henderson.  That was enough to give the offense the final point in a 44-43 nail-biter over the defense.  Think Stableford scoring system and you’ll understand.  Clement was strong, yet again, completing 14 of 19 passes for 156 yards and a touchdown, in addition to 69 yards rushing on ten carries.


The June Jones era, spring 2008 version, ended with a spring scrimmage in front of nearly 3,500 fans, including 250 area high school recruits.  The competition for the quarterback position increased, as former starter Justin Willis is no longer on the team.  Redshirt freshmen Logan Turner and Daniel Miller looked solid in 7-on-7 and were a combined 15 of 20 during the team’s full scrimmage. 


No Matt Forte?  No problem.  In the team’s annual spring contest, sophomore tailback Andre Anderson did his best Forte imitation, rushing for 136 yards on 19 carries and a touchdown.  Although Anderson was solid throughout the day, the quarterbacks did struggle with their consistency in the game.  Scott Elliott led the team with 80 yards passing, but only completed four of eleven passes.  Joe Kemp was five of eight passing for only 58 yards, but did throw the only touchdown on the day. 


Who's going to replace QB Paul Smith? While it might take a while before the issue is settled, David Johnson might have a stranglehold on the job after completing 11 of 19 passes for 198 yards and two scores, while Clark Harrell was just as strong completing ten of 13 throws. The wild-card will be Jacob Bower, even though he's the likely third man in the mix, after doing a little of everything well and running for two touchdowns. The spring game basically solved nothing; the derby will last until the fall.


The annual Blue and Orange game wasn’t an offensive showcase, in the slightest, but it sure did provide some excitement.  The Blue defense knocked down a last second pass in the end zone to preserve a 10-3 victory over the Orange.  Quarterback Trevor Vittatoe took another step in the right direction with a strong performance.  He completed 12 of 22 passes for 140 yards and one touchdown.  If not for Vittatoe, the offenses would’ve done next to nothing as the defenses held the offenses to 37 yards rushing.