JSU Wraps Spring Practice With J Day Game
After a record-breaking offensive season for Jacksonville State in 2014, it was the defense that was on display during the Gamecocks' spring game Saturday afternoon at Burgess-Snow Field.
Head coach John Grass has spent the majority of spring game looking for a linebacker to step-up to fill the shoes of the graduated Ben Endress as well as many missing pieces, including defensive tackle Caleb Lawrence.
"One of the key areas coming into the spring was our linebackers," Grass said. "We were very concerned about that because we lost some big guys. When you lose a guy like Ben Endress and Michael Carlisle, those are the holes we have to fill in our defense and I think Dawson Wells has had a great spring to emerge as one of the guys."
The teams for Saturday's game were drafted by seniors.
Folo Johnson and Troymaine Pope drafted the winning team, the White team that claimed a 17-9 win over Christian LeMay, Wells and Spencer Goffigan's Red team.
Quarterback Eli Jenkins led the White team down the field for two touchdown drives to highlight the redshirt junior's day. He scrambled through the defense for a 14-yard touchdown run with2:32 left before halftime and, during the first quarter, he found Dalton Screws on a seven-yard touchdown pass in the corner of the end zone.
Jenkins finished the contest 10-of-16 passing with 151 yards through the air. He also added 29 more on the ground and ran for a 14-yard score.
"I got pressured from the outside, so I stepped up and rolled out of the pocket," Jenkins said on his touchdown pass. "Dalton saw me rolling out, so he cut his route off short and went to the corner. I threw it there and it was a touchdown."
Outside of a few big plays here-and-there, the defense on both sides limited the offense to a combined 25 first down and 386 yards of total offense, which includes only 108 rushing yards.
LeMay threw for 83 yards on 20 attempts, completing seven, while Josh Barge hauled in seven receptions for 91 yards. Markis Merrill caught two passes for 68 yards.
Connor Rouleau kicked 44 and 49-yard field goals, but missed a 50-yarder slightly to the right. Cade Stinnett and Kyle Trego also pushed through field goals of 32 and 31 yards, respectively.
"I think our depth is as good as it's ever been," Grass added. "When you look around the field, you can't really tell the difference between the ones and twos. Secondary wise, we are so much deeper there, and when we get our guys back, we can also be two-deep on the offensive and defensive line.
"Being able to do a scrimmage like we did it, with as many guys as we have out, it's pretty impressive. Overall, our depth is pretty good, there's no doubt we wouldn't have been able to do this two springs ago."
Courtesy: JSU Sports Information