April 17, 2010
Laramie, Wyo. (April 17, 2010) -- The 2010 Brown and Gold game was played Saturday in Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium, with the Gold Team, featuring the No. 1 defensive unit and No. 2 offensive unit, defeating the Brown Team by a final score of 13-6. Saturday's game was played under a steady rain.
The game wrapped up the 15th and final practice of spring football for the Wyoming Cowboys. Afterwards, second-year head coach Dave Christensen expressed his pleasure with Saturday's game and with the progress his team made during spring drills
"We wanted to see the No. 1 offense matched up against the No. 1 defense in our final scrimmage," said Christensen. "We wanted to see how our No. 1s competed against one another. I was very pleased with our defense. They didn't give up a touchdown. They only had one bad play I can think of on a pass interference, other than that they played very well. As I've said all along, I think we've made good progress, and I like what we're doing defensively. I like the athletes we have out their, and if we can continue to make the progress that we've made over the last 15 practices when we come back for fall camp I think we can have a pretty good defense next year.
"We had a lot of different players out there this spring competing for playing time on both sides of the ball. Everyone on this football team is going to have to earn a starting spot next year. By having a few guys out, particularly on the defensive line, we were able to find some guys who we think can help us next year who might not have gotten as many reps this spring if everyone was healthy. We're going to have about six D-linemen who weren't out here this spring that are going to have a chance to play, so it was nice to get a look at a lot of younger guys in the spring."
In terms of the No. 1 offense's inability to score a touchdown, Christensen said he wasn't overly concerned at this time of the year.
"Offensively, I always go back to a comment Bo Schembechler made to me. Coach Schembechler said `If you're offense is ahead of your defense in the spring, it's going to be a long season.' I thought about that today on the sideline, so according to Bo I like the way today's scrimmage went. I think we've done some things on offense very well throughout the 15 practices in spring. I'm not overly concerned at all. I like to think we faced a pretty good defense today."
Christensen also commented on the speed he has added to his second Cowboy squad and what he believes that means for next season.
"When you look at the speed we have out their on defense -- at linebacker and in the secondary -- our back seven is going to be as quick and fast as probably any group in the country. We're faster at every position, and we just have to continue to recruit those types of kids who can run. We've got speed on offense, but we don't have as much experience on that side of the ball. What we've got to do is get them that experience in the 25 or so practices we'll have in fall camp."
Brown took an early lead when, on its first possession of the game, the No. 1 offense led by sophomore quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels drove the ball 68 yards in 17 plays resulting in a 26-yard field goal by sophomore place-kicker Ian Watts. Key plays on that first drive were a 13-yard run for a first down by Carta-Samuels, a six-yard run by sophomore running back Alvester Alexander that also gained a first down and a 10-yard pass from Carta-Samuels to senior wide receiver Travis Burkhalter that gained a third first down. The Gold Team was unable to score on its first two possessions of the first quarter, and the quarter ended with Brown leading 3-0.
In the second quarter, the Gold's No. 1 defense stiffened, forcing the No. 1 offense of the Brown to two straight three-and-out series. The Gold offense also came to life in the second quarter behind senior quarterback Dax Crum. On the second play of the Gold team's first possession in the second quarter, Crum hit junior wide receiver DeJay Lester in stride for a 36-yard pass down the sideline. That play took the ball from the Gold 22-yard line to the Brown 42. Crum proceeded to lead his No. 2 offensive unit on an 11-play, 78-yard drive versus the No. 2 defense that concluded with a one-yard touchdown run by redshirt freshman running back Andrew Meredith. Watts added the extra point to give Gold a 7-3 lead.
Each team had one more possession in the first half. The Brown offense was forced into another three-and-out series that included a six-yard sack of Carta-Samuels by junior defensive end Josh Biezuns. The Gold offense moved the ball 22 yards to the Brown 36-yard line right before halftime, giving Watts a shot from 53-yards out that fell short and leaving the halftime score at 7-3 in favor of Gold.
After a brief halftime that recognized the six Most Improved Players for the Cowboys this spring, the four 2010 team captains that were voted on by their teammates and recognition of over 60 former Cowboy Football players who were invited back to the game, the second half began with the Brown team on offense.
The Gold team picked up in the second half right where it left off to end the first. On Brown's first, second-half possession redshirt freshman defensive tackle Patrick Mertens sacked Carta-Samuels for five yards on first down and senior cornerback Marcell Gipson broke up a pass on third down to force another three-and-out for the Brown offense and another punt.
Taking possession of the ball on his own 47-yard line, Crum proceeded to drive his Gold team 53 yards in 10 plays, resulting in a nine-yard TD run by junior wide receiver Mazi Ogbonna. Watts missed the extra point, and Gold had stretched its lead to 13-3. Gold kept the pressure on as Mertens sacked Carta-Samuels for a second time in the game. Following the punt, Gold took possession on its own 30-yard line late in the third quarter, and had its last opportunity to score as it drove 42-yards to the Brown 28-yard line before Watts missed a 46-yard field goal early in the fourth period.
On its final offensive opportunity of the game, Carta-Samuels and his No. 1 offensive unit put together their longest drive of the day, with a 71-yard, 14-play drive that gave them a first and goal at the Gold six-yard line. An offsides penalty on Gold moved the ball to the three-yard line, and Alexander carried it to the one on the next play, but the Cowboy's No. 1 defense refused to give in, holding Brown for no gain on the next two running plays. Watts then connected on an 18-yard field goal for the Brown to make the score, Gold 13, Brown 6. Gold was able to run the clock out on runs of 16 yards and 15 yards by redshirt freshman Tedder Easton to seal the win.
Crum completed 11 of 16 passes (68.8 percent) for 113 yards for the Gold team. His leading receiver was Ogbonna, who caught three passes for 38 yards. Easton led all rushers on the day with 93 yards on 13 rushing attempts. The leading defensive performers for the Gold squad were; Mertens with eight tackles and 2.0 sacks; junior linebacker Brian Hendricks, who had seven tackles: sophomore linebacker Ghaali Muhammad, who also had seven tackles; and Biezuns, who had five tackles including 2.0 tackles for losses and 1.0 sack. Between Mertens and Biezuns, the Gold defense sacked Carta-Samuels three times.
Carta-Samuels completed 13 of 20 passes (65.0 percent) for 83 yards for the Brown team. His favorite target was senior wide receiver David Leonard, who caught nine passes for 49 yards. Alexander led the Brown team in rushing with 26 yards on 11 carries. The Brown's defensive standouts included: junior defensive lineman Bryson Studnicka, with seven tackles; redshirt freshman linebacker Todd Knight, who also had seven; and sophomore strong safety Luke Ruff and sophomore defensive lineman Eric Brooks, who each had five tackles. Brook had the Brown team's lone sack of Crum for a minus five yards.
On special teams, junior punter Austin McCoy punted seven times for a 40.1-yard average. Watts was 2 of 4 (.500) in field goals, connecting from 26 and 18 yards out and missing from 53 and 46 yards.
There were no turnovers on the day, and penalties were few and far between. Gold had two penalties for 18 yards and Brown had one for 15.
At halftime of Saturday's Brown and Gold game, awards were presented to the six UW football players who were named the Spring Most Improved Players at their positions.
These awards were selected by the Wyoming coaching staff. Plaques recognizing each year's Most Improved Players will be put on display in the University of Wyoming football offices.
This year's awards are sponsored by officers from the University of Wyoming Police Department and the City of Laramie Police Department.
Cowboy offensive line coach Pete Kaligis, who himself earned his bachelor's degree in sociology and law enforcement from the University of Washington, organized this year's awards.
"I would like to thank the University of Wyoming Police Department and the Laramie Police Department for their support and sponsorship of our Spring Most Improved Awards," said Kaligis.
This year's recipients were:
Most Improved Offensive Back, Sponsored by UW Police Sgt. Jim Alexander
Most Improved Offensive Lineman, Sponsored by UW Assistant Police Chief Mike Samp
Most Improved Wide Receiver, Sponsored by UW Police Sgt. Cody Anderson
Most Improved Defensive Back, Sponsored by UW Police Officer Ashlynne Nutter
Most Improved Linebacker, Sponsored by Laramie Police Department Officer Andrew Zook
The four 2010 team captains who were originally announced this past Thursday were also recognized at halftime. The four players elected team captains by their teammates are: senior free safety Chris Prosinski, senior wide receiver David Leonard, junior linebacker Brian Hendricks and sophomore quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels.
With the end of spring drills, Christensen said that the next two weeks will see him and his coaches meeting with each player on the squad before the coaches hit the road for spring recruiting.
"Next week, I will meet individually with every player on the team," said Christensen. "Our position coaches will meet with each of their players beginning the following week. Then the player will have final exams and have a few weeks off. They will return to campus the first Wednesday of June, and train and go to school for eight weeks before getting a week off before they report for fall camp on Aug. 4."
The head coach said no one to his knowledge had suffered a serious injury during the Brown and Gold game. Senior linebacker Keith Lewis, who played with the No. 1 defense on Saturday did suffer a shoulder stinger in the game.
A total of 11 players missed Saturday's scrimmage. Ten of those 11 missed due to previous injuries or bumps and bruises, including: defensive linemen Spencer Bruce, Max Gustafson, Mike Purcell, Alex Stover and Mark Willis; receivers Matt Cobb, James Davis, and David Tooley; running back Nehemie Kankolongo; and offensive lineman Thomas Vonashek. Redshirt freshman receiver Rodney Jaynes has been focusing on this academics this spring, and also didn't participate in the game.