White Team Prevails, 22-14, in Football Spring Game
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss football team concluded the spring with its annual Spring Game on a rainy Saturday morning at Carlisle-Faulkner Field at M.M. Roberts Stadium. The game pitted the White Team against the Black Team with the White Team notching a 22-14 victory.
"It is a culmination of your work in the offseason and then the practices leading up to it," third-year head coach Todd Monken said of the Spring Game. "We have more depth than we ever have. We are on the right path. Our best will be good enough. If we get our guys to play one play to the next at their best, we'll be pretty good."
The two teams were split up evenly with starters and backups from offense and defense being placed on either the White Team or the Black Team.
"We have more depth," Monken said of his team. "We have more guys competing. That is obviously a positive."
Both teams were able to use big plays to score points during the scrimmage.
"Guys who make plays in practice normally make them in games," Monken said. "The guys that do everything you want with effort and mental toughness and physical toughness, you'll see it on Saturdays. That part of it does translate every time you take the field."
Quarterback Tyler Matthews directed the White Team, going 18-for-35 for 326 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. His counterpart, Nick Mullens led the Black Team, finishing the game 17-for-29 with two touchdowns and a pair of INTs. Parker Adamson split times between the two teams finishing 5-for-9 for 50 yards.
The White Team amassed 371 yards in the air as a team. D.J. Thompson led all receivers with 130 yards on the day, while Michael Thomas posted 95 yards and two touchdowns. Casey Martin tallied a team-high six receptions for 82 yards for the White Team.
On the Black Team, Jarrell Aaron caught two passes for 85 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown strike. Kyle Foster made his one catch of the day count, hauling in a 76-yard TD. James Cox led the Black Team with six receptions on the day.
Defensively, the White Team tallied three sacks, led by Dylan Bradley's two sack effort. Tyler Walker also got to the quarterback for a stop. Trae Collins, Deshadrick Truly, Jomez Applewhite, Devonta Foster and Ja'Boree Poole each recorded pass breakups, while Truly and Foster each came down with interceptions.
The Black Team notched seven sacks on the day with Xavier Thigpen and Michael Smith leading the way with two apiece. D'Nerius Antoine, Darian Yancey and C.J. Perry each added sacks as well. Curtis Mikell, Thigpen and Perry each had pass breakups, while Picasso Nelson Jr. picked off a pass. Jerry McCorvey caused a fumble that was recovered by Yancey.
The White Team was the first to score. A long pass got the team into the red zone, but the Black defense held the White Team out of the end zone. Parker Shaunfield put the White Team on the scoreboard with his first of three field goals on the day, a 21-yard kick down the middle of the uprights.
The Black Team responded with a touchdown as Mullens hit Aaron in stride for a 75-yard strike. Stephen Brauchle added the PAT to put the Black Team ahead 7-3 in the first quarter.
In the second quarter, Shaunfield drilled a 37-yard field goal to cut the deficit to 7-6. With just under two minutes to play in the half, Thomas caught a six-yard pass from Matthews for a touchdown to give White its first lead of the game. Kewin Nielsen converted the extra point, giving White a 13-7 advantage.
Mullens and the Black Team responded as the QB connected with Foster for a 76-yard touchdown pass with just 13 ticks on the clock before halftime. Nick Vogel's PAT attempt was true and Black went into halftime with a 14-13 lead.
The White Team regained the lead in the third quarter. Thomas pulled down a Matthews' pass for a 22-yard TD. The extra point was no good, leading the score 19-14 in favor of White.
With just under 90 second remaining in the third quarter, Shaunfield extended the lead to eight with a 22-yard field goal to put White ahead 22-14.
The defense for both squads posted shutouts in the fourth quarter, giving White a 22-14 victory.
The Golden Eagles open their 2015 season at home on Sept. 5, against in-state foe Mississippi State. Season tickets for the upcoming football season can be purchased by going online at SouthernMissTickets.com, by calling 1-800-844-TICK (8425) or by visiting the Pat Ferlise Ticket Office, weekdays during normal business hours.