Late Rally Lifts White Team to Top
April 12, 2008
RUSTON, La. - The second T-day Spring Game of the Derek Dooley era took a while to put points on the board, but the Blue and White Teams battled in another nail-biter.
""We're two-for-two so far as an exciting spring game," Dooley said. "It was a great comeback win for the White after the Blue team had taken a 13-0 lead and made for a great finish."
The White Team scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to complete the come-from-behind victory. William Griffin punched it in from three yards out to give White its first score just seconds into the final stanza. Philip Livas broke free on a slant-and-go route for a 30-yard strike from Ross Jenkins to take the lead.
""We're always telling our players about the importance of being a fourth quarter team and today's game reveals that because of the way the White team kept pulling back and never giving up," Dooley said. "It's important for a team to win the close ones. You have to believe in yourself and your teammates. There's a lot of great lessons to learn out there today."
Most of the first half was all about the defense as neither team's offense could score. The Blue defense shut down the White offense to allow just 28 yards in the first quarter. At halftime the numbers had balanced out with White gaining 119 yards and Blue getting 120.
Blue special teams came up with the big play to enter the locker room with all the momentum.
With nine seconds remaining, Jay Dudley blocked a Brad Oestricher field goal attempt and Brian White ran it back 71 yards for a touchdown and the only points of the first half after a missed extra point.
In the second half, each offense got into more of a rhythm and the quarterbacks began to produce.
Steven Ensminger led the Blue Team on a scoring drive in the third quarter to pull ahead 13-0. Blue moved quickly going 74 yards in five plays. The drive was capped off with the team's one trick play allowed.
The trick play was not enough, however, as the White Team stormed back in the fourth.
""As the game went on, the offense settled down. It was really, early on, a physical game with the defensive controlling much of the action," Dooley said. "Overall, however, I thought it was a good indicator of how this spring has gone. I was pleased with the effort and competitiveness of our players throughout the spring and in today's game."
Jenkins completed 16-of-27 passes for 148 yards a touchdown and two interceptions. Ensminger threw for 222 yards on 12-of-32 passing with an interception.
The White Team was the only squad to really move the ball effectively on the ground with Griffin rushing for 52 yards on 14 carries. Daniel Porter added 35 yards on 12 carries for White as well.
Receiving, Livas pulled in six catches for 72 yards with 30 coming on his touchdown. Beck led the Blue Team with 74 yards on four catches. Josh Wheeler added 64 yards on four catches for Blue, and Morris had 47 yards on two catches. Tight end Dustin Mitchell also had five catches for 52 yards for the White.
Defensively a number of players stepped up with the offenses being slowed for much of the first half.
Linebacker Quin Harris led the White Team with four tackles including a sack. Josh Victorian had 3.5 tackles and pulled in an interception. Blue defense got in the back field more often with seven tackles for loss and five sacks.
D'Anthony Smith had four tackles on the day with two of the sacks. Converted safety Shawn Simmons led the Blue Team with 8.5 tackles. Linebacker Jay Dudley had 5.5 tackles with a sack. Newcomers Kwame Jordan and Zach Schreiber combined for a sack. White added an interception to go with his return for a touchdown, and safety Deon Young added another interception.
With the conclusion of spring practices the coaching staff will hit the recruiting trail soon and players will hit the weight room to prepare for the season opener against Mississippi State at home.
For season ticket information for the 2008 season please contact the Tech Ticket Office at 318-257-3631.