MASSACHUSETTS' SPRING GAME RECAP

AMHERST, Mass. - UMass football's Spring Fling was a grand event at McGuirk Stadium under the lights on Friday night. The Maroon team captured both portions of the scrimmages, winning 33-12 in a combined intersquad game and then 27-2 in an offense vs. defense session. Backs John Griffin (two), Jonathan Hernandez, Jamar Smith and Sean Unterkoefler all rushed for touchdowns. QB Kyle Havens threw for three scores and signal callers Jesse Hunt and Ocatavius Hawkins each threw for long-scoring bombs.

The Minutemen played three periods of overtime situations to start the scrimmage with the White and Maroon teams starting series at the 25-yard line, just like overtime in the regular-season. The first play of the game was the most exciting of the day as the White team attempted a flea-flicker with Hawkins and wideout Julian Talley. On the return from Talley to Hawkins, All-American candidate Tyler Holmes plowed over Hawkins forcing a fumble that was returned 68 yards by Ke'Mon Bailey and a 6-0 Maroon lead.

The White scored on its next possession as Griffin busted up the middle from two yards to tie the game at 6-6. Hernandez (25 yards) and Tom Gilson (19 yards) each hauled in touchdown passes from Havens for a 19-6 Maroon lead.

Unterkoefler bolted in from three yards for the only score in the second period. Gilson grabbed his second TD of the game from Havens, from 25 yards to give the Maroon a 33-6 lead. Griffin scored again from two yards for the final 33-12 in the first portion of the game.

Many players swapped jerseys with the first team offense taking on the first team defense and so on for the remainder of the day.

With the Maroon playing offense, Jesse Julmiste hauled in a 70-yard bomb from Hawkins for a 6-0 lead. Smith rumbled in from the 4-yard line.

Woody Carter IV then caught his own bomb from Jesse Hunt, from 54 yard out and a 20-0 Maroon lead.

The White got in the board as Northeastern transfer Chad Hunte sacked Havens in the end zone. The Maroon wrapped up the scoring with Hernandez scoring his second TD of the day on a 10-yard rush and a 27-2 Maroon score.

The three quarterback split the time pretty evenly. Hawkins was 8-of-15 for 142 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Havens was 8-of-14 for 98 yards with three TDs and an interception. Hunt was 6-of-9 for 140 yards and a TD.

On the ground, Jamar Smith gained 59 yards on nine carries with a TD. Griffin was 13 for 27 with two touchdowns. Hernandez had five carries for 35 yards with a rushing and receiving score.

On the receiving end, Gilson led everyone with four catches for 57 yards and two TDs. Julian Colarusso had three catches for 35 yards.

On defense, Hunte had that sack for a safety among three tackles. D.J. Adeoba, Ryan Carter and Christian Birt also made three stops.

 

TOWSON'S SPRING GAME RECAP

TOWSON, Md. - Towson head football coach Rob Ambrose came away from Saturday's annual Black & Gold Spring Game with the conclusion that the 2010 edition of Tiger Football is way ahead of the one that finished 2-9 last fall.

Ambrose shrugged off a lack of offense that failed to produce points until there was 1:53 left in the first half. However, the offense pushed back in the later going, giving the defense a similar fit in a faster-paced second half.

"Any time you break the team up and you're not using 100 per cent of whatever you've got it's going to be a little herky jerky," the second year coach said.

Of major interest was the quarterback play where sophomore Brian Potts, junior college transfer Chris Hart and senior Jeremy Jayne have been dueling all spring. After the slow start, Potts and Hart put on a show, each directing the offense to touchdowns but via different modes of transportation.

Hart, a transfer from Georgia Military College who proved during the spring that he brought with him a rifle for an arm, hugged the ground, showcasing a running ability that gives the Tigers a new weapon. He scored the game's first points when he slashed is way untouched 22 yards on the option for the touchdown. He later scored the second touchdown on a two-yard scamper.

He's not shy about carrying the ball. He ran 16 times for 44 yards, a figure that's a bit misleading since yards lost on sacks have to come off his total. He'll have plenty of opportunity to showcase his throwing skills despite completing 5 of 12 attempts for 73 yards and one interception.

Potts, who closed out the 2009 season as the starter, went airborne. A more methodical thrower, he completed 15 of 30 attempts for 191 yards and a touchdown.

So who's the starter?

"I'm not going to put a timeline on exactly when we'll name a starter," Ambrose said. "I can tell you we're not doing it after the spring. We're going to wait until everybody is healthy and everybody can compete together. Then the staff will sit down and evaluate it as we go. I'm not trying to keep it from anyone but we're just going to let everyone truly get a shot."

Ambrose wants sophomore Peter Athens back in the race too. Athens, sitting out the spring while his knee continues to mend, directed the Tigers to their two wins and was the starter before suffering a season-ending injury in the sixth game of the campaign against Delaware. It was quarterback by committee the rest of the way with Potts, Jayne and Tommy Chroninger sharing the load. Athens is expected to join the chase at full strength when summer camp opens. Chroninger is out of the race but will be multi-tasking at running back, tight end and wide receiver when he returns from an injury.

"We're deeper now at quarterback because we have another body there," said Ambrose. "Chris brings a level of experience that we need. We've got a lot of young guys but even though we still have a lot of young guys back there, they're growing up and they're executing more efficiently, therefore we are getting better."

The receiving corps took a hit from graduation last year but one young wide out showed he's ready to step up, sophomore Tom Ryan.

"Tom Ryan played his butt off today," said Ambrose.

Ryan displayed hands, speed and courage over the middle, catching four passes for 84 yards and a TD from Potts. His first catch carried 40 yards and proved to be the longest play of the day. Senior Hakeem Moore led all receivers with five receptions for 61 yards.

Hart was the game's leading ground gainer. His 22-yard touchdown run was the longest rush of the afternoon. Redshirt freshman Nygee Carmichael picked up 23 yards on five carries to post the best average per rush (5.6). Sophomore Dominique Booker gained 21 yards on nine carries.

The defense dominated play early in the scrimmage with sophomore Romale Tucker letting the coaching staff know he really likes his new position. A linebacker last year, Tucker is now a defensive end. He had seven tackles, two sacks and a pass break up.

Senior Dante Blakey was also very disruptive with six tackles and a pass break up. Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Arnold Farmer had four stops and wrapped up Potts on the one yard line to deny the offense a TD as time expired in the first half. Junior tackle Rob Osborne recorded five tackles and caused a fumble.

Senior safety Raymond White made an exciting play out of an interception he returned 47 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

"Two things in the world that you can control  and that's attitude and effort," said Ambrose as he summed up the day's performances. "If you have a good attitude and put forth a great effort  you will get better. Across the board I can say that every guy on this team, one way or another, has gotten better."

Towson opens its 2010 season at the University of Indiana in Bloomington on September 2.