April 19, 2008
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
It was the type of scrimmage that both the offensive and defensive coaching staffs could be pleased with as the Wyoming Cowboys concluded 2008 spring drills on Saturday.
The Spring Game featured the No. 1 offense against the No. 2 defense and the No. 2 offense against the No. 1 defense in a scrimmage that lasted 86 plays. The situational scrimmage included 16 total series. Of those 16 series, six began on the offense's own 30-yard line, nine began on the defense's 20-yard line (redzone offense) and one series to end the first half was a two-minute drill that began at the offense's own 30-yard line.
The six series that the No. 1 offense was on the field, it scored five out of six times. In the eight series the No. 1 defense was on the field, it allowed only two scores. Both of those scores came on field-goals when the offense was given the advantage of starting the drive on the defense's own 20-yard line.
"We saw a lot of good things out their today, and everyone walked off the field on their own two feet," said UW head coach Joe Glenn. "In 132 days, we'll get to put the pads back on for a game versus Ohio. We'll have 29 practices in the fall before we play our first game. We need to get better, but I'm excited about this team. We're close to where we want to be. I'm fired up about our future.
"We protected the ball real well today -- only one interception, and we didn't have one fumble, so that is good stuff. I believe we were much more efficient on offense, and limited our penalties. I thought the number ones were good on both sides of the ball, and that's the way it's supposed to be. We went ones against twos today, and your number ones should win."
Leading the way for the starting offensive unit were senior running backs Devin Moore and Wynel Seldon, who both scored twice on running plays. Moore scored on touchdown runs of three yards and one yard during the redzone portion of the scrimmage. Seldon had TD runs of 20 yards and two yards. Moore was the leading rusher on the day, with 72 yards on 12 carries for a 6.0 average per carry. Seldon ran for 34 yards on 10 carries.
Seldon's two-yard touchdown run capped the most impressive drive of the day. Beginning on their own 30-yard line on the first drive of the second half, the No. 1 offense, led by junior quarterback Karsten Sween, drove the ball 70 yards on nine plays for the TD. On that drive, Sween connected on three passes for 33 yards to junior tight end Jesson Salyards.
The other score for the No. 1 offense came on a three-yard touchdown pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Chris Stutzriem to redshirt freshman fullback/H-back Josh Biezuns. The one series the starting offense failed to score was its first drive of the game, when it drove 69 yards before the No. 2 defense kept them out of the endzone on a fourth down play from the one-yard line.
Offensively, the Cowboys accounted for 359 yards of total offense -- 171 rushing and 188 passing. A big part of the offense's success was due to the blocking of the offensive line.
"I still say the biggest difference between our football team from a year ago to right now is our offensive line," said Glenn. "We've also changed our offense a little bit, and added a fullback, which has made us more effective at running the football and harder to defend."
The Cowboys' starting defense was just as impressive. It held the No. 2 offense scoreless six out of eight drives. UW's No. 1 defense even looked good on the two scoring drives they allowed during the scrimmage. In both situations, the No. 2 offense was given the ball at the defense's own 20-yard line. One score came on a 23-yard field goal on a drive that covered only 14 yards. The other score was a 40-yard field goal by junior place-kicker Jake Scott on a drive in which the offense actually lost three yards.
The Poke defenders recorded 10 tackles for losses for a -52 yards, and had four quarterback sacks for a -34 yards. UW's defense also broke up five passes on the day and came up with one interception by junior outside linebacker Weston Johnson.
Leading the way for the Wyoming defense were: sophomore safety Chris Prosinski (seven tackles), sophomore linebacker Alex Toney (six tackles), junior linebacker Zeb Whipp (five tackles, 1.5 tackles for losses and one sack), sophomore cornerback Marcell Gipson (five tackles and one TFL), senior linebacker Jake Edmunds (five tackles and one TFL) and junior linebacker Jimmy DeAndrea (five tackles).
Joining Whipp with sacks were: junior defensive linemen Mitch Unrein (one sack) and John Fletcher (0.5 sacks), senior linebacker Mike Juergens (one sack) and redshirt freshman linebacker Gabe Knapton (0.5 sacks).
Wyoming's eighth scoring drive of the game came when the No. 3 offense put together a 10-play, 70-yard drive against the No. 3 defense that resulted in a three-yard touchdown run by redshirt freshman running back James Davis.
Davis was, by the way, the only Cowboy to suffer an injury in the scrimmage. He had a neck burner following a hit by Knapton. Davis didn't return after suffering the burner.
In the quarterback battle, each of the four quarterbacks led their units to two scores apiece. In addition to the nine-play, 70-yard TD drive that Sween guided the No. 1 offense to, he also led the No. 2 offense to a drive resulting in a field goal. Stutzriem not only threw the one touchdown pass of the day while playing a series with the No. 1 offense, but he also quarterbacked the No. 3 offense to a TD drive. Senior Ian Hetrick quarterbacked the No. 1 offense to two touchdowns during the redzone portion of the scrimmage, and sophomore quarterback Dax Crum led the No. 1 offense to a redzone touchdown drive, and guided the No. 2 offense on a series that resulted in a field goal. Crum threw the only interception of the scrimmage.
Stutzriem completed 6 of 9 passes and threw for the most yards (62 yards), while enjoying the highest completion percentage (66.7 percent) and completing the lone touchdown pass of the game. Crum threw for 54 yards on 6 of 14 passing (42.9 percent) and one interception. Sween completed 5 of 10 passes (50.0 percent) for 45 yards, and Hetrick threw for 27 yards on 3 of 4 passing (75.0 percent).
The top receiver in the game was tight end Salyards, who had the most catches (four) and receiving yards (47). Biezuns not only scored the one receiving touchdown, but totalled three catches for 26 yards. Two other Cowboys also had three receptions -- senior Darion Donnelly (three catches for 13 yards) and freshman Kaither Holiway (three receptions for 25 yards). A total of 11 different Cowboys had catches in the Spring Game.
"We won't name a starter (at quarterback) for awhile," said Glenn. "I would imagine about two weeks out from our first game, Bob (Cole, offensive coordinator) will want to pick one guy and give him all the turns with the No. 1 offense. The battle is still on, and all of our quarterbacks are still doing some pretty good things."
Place-kicker Scott was two of three in field goals, making field goals from 23 and 40 yards, while missing one from 31 yards out. He was a perfect six of six in point after touchdowns. The only other field goal attempted on the day was by redshirt freshman Braden Shoop, who missed a 37-yard attempt.
"Jake (Scott) did better today," said Glenn. "We needed him to show up today. My hat is off to Jake. It wasn't easy kicking today in this wind, and I thought he did a real nice job."
The Spring Game concluded Wyoming's 15 spring practices. The Cowboys are tentatively scheduled to report for fall practice on Sunday, Aug. 3 and conduct their first practice on Monday, Aug. 4. The Cowboys will kick off the 2008 season on Saturday, Aug. 30 when they host Ohio in a game scheduled for Noon, Mountain Time.