Pirates Complete First Spring Scrimmage

GREENVILLE, N.C. — ECU held its first of three intra-squad scrimmages at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The East Carolina football team stepped inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for the first time this year on Saturday afternoon to host the first of its three scrimmages this spring.

And on the recently repainted grass field, quarterback Kurt Benkert took the bulk of the first-team reps and shortly following his lone interception of the 75-play intra-scrimmage, the redshirt sophomore bounced back to find Isaiah Jones for a 40-yard touchdown pass off of play action.

Benkert finished 13 of 17 passing for 127 yards and even after just one scrimmage, sixth-year coach Ruffin McNeill admitted that he saw a few things in Benkert that reminded him of the school’s most prolific passer, Shane Carden.

“Shane’s first play of college starting was an interception against South Carolina,” McNeill said. “The same thing happened today ... and (Benkert) came back next play and he made a play.”

Also involved in the spring quarterback battle is JUCO transfer Blake Kemp. Kemp, a lefty who came to ECU by way of Mesa Community College in Arizona, was 8 for 13 on his passes for 95 yards, but tossed two interceptions.

Defensive backs Travon Simmons, Bobby Fulp and Corey Seargeant had the Pirates’ three interceptions Saturday. Simmons made the most of his turnover, taking it 60 yards for a pick-6.

Senior defensive end Terrell Stanley was the lead blocker on the score and once Simmons crossed the goal line, defensive line coach Marc Yellock sprinted up to Stanley in the end zone, yelling “That’s you, Stan,” and going in for an emphatic chest bump.

Linebackers Montese Overton and Joe Allely and defensive lineman Demage Bailey tied for a team-best five tackles, each of them logging one tackle-for-loss.

The Pirates’ entire stable of running backs received carries and almost all of them turned in stellar afternoons.

Leading the pack was Virginia Tech transfer Chris Mangus, who — against mostly defensive reserves — rushed for 64 yards on four carries, including a 48-yard touchdown scamper up the left sideline. Senior Chris Hairston had 29 yards on five rushes.

"It was great to be actually be out on the field playing again," said Mangus. "We have a great way of getting all of our running backs acclimated in the game and using all of us in our own different way."

SCRIMMAGE STATISTICS:

RUSHING: Chris Mangus (4-64, 1 TD), Chris Hairston (5-29), Derrell Scott (5-18), Anthony Scott (6-13), Marquez Grayson (6-11), Cory Hunter (4-2), Kurt Benkert (5-<-9>). Totals –– 35-128 (3.7 ypr), 1 TD.

PASSING: Kurt Benkert (17-13-1, 127 yards, 1 TD), Blake Kemp (13-8-2, 95 yards), Ray Smith (12-7-0, 44 yards). Totals –– 42-28-3, 266 yards, 1 TD (66.7%).

RECEIVING: Isaiah Jones (4-72, 1 TD), Jimmy Williams (2-49), Steve Baggett (4-44), Bryce Williams (1-28), Brian Hardy (1-15), Anthony Scott (1-10), Brandon Bishop (2-8), Quay Johnson (2-8), Beau Huffman (2-7), Malik Gray (1-7), Dwayne Duckett (2-6), Terrell Green (1-6), Chris Hairston (2-5), Trevon Brown (1-5), Marquez Grayson (2-<-4>). Totals –– 28-266, 0 TD

TACKLES: Montese Overton 5 (QBH, sack/-6 yards, TFL/-6 yards),Joe Allely 5 (TFL/-5 yards), Demage Bailey 5 (TFL/-2 yards), Pat Green 4, DeShawn Benton 4, Nhyre Quinerly 4, Ray Tillman 4 (TFL/-3 yards), Domonique Lennon 4, Trevian Hicks 4, Jordan Williams 3, Kyron Speller 3 (TFL/-2 yards), Drayvon Fairley 3, Rocco Scarfone 3, Terrell Richardson 2, Josh Hawkins 2, Travon Simmons 2 (INT/60 yards, PD), Markel Winters 2 (TFL/-1 yard), Terrell Stanley 2 (TFL/-2 yards), Bennett Boateng 2 (TFL/-1 yard), Tony Baird 2, Travis Phillips 1, Deshaun Amos 1 (PD), Zeek Bigger 1 (TFL/-5), Masiddiq Walton 1, Cam White 1, Randall Anderson 1, Mike Myers 1, Fred Presley 1, Xavier Smith 1, Corey Seargent 0 (INT/38 yards), Bobby Fulp 0 (INT/0 yards), Cole Pickard 0 (FR), Marquel King 0 (PD).

TOTAL OFFENSE/TOTAL DEFENSE: 77-394 (5.1 ypp)

FUMBLES/LOST: 1/1

INTERCEPTIONS: 3 (Bobby Fulp, Corey Seargent, Travon Simmons)

THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS: 9-20 (45.0%) – Kurt Benkert (5-10), Blake Kemp (2-5), Ray Smith (2-5)

FOURTH DOWN CONVERSIONS (when attempted): 0-3 (00.0%) – Kurt Benkert (0-1), Blake Kemp (0-1), Ray Smith (0-1)

PENALTIES: 7 (4/OFFENSE – 4 holding; 3/DEFENSE – 2 pass interference, 1 offside)

QUARTERBACK FIRST DOWN/SCORING CHART (DRIVES):

Kurt Benkert – 6 first downs, 1 TD (interception, TD, downs, downs, missed FG, downs)

Blake Kemp –5 first downs, FG (downs, interception, downs, interception, FG)

Ray Smith –– 3 first downs, 1 TD (fumble, downs, downs, TD, downs)

SCORING (TD – 3):

Travon Simmons 60-yard interception return

Isaiah Jones 40-yard pass from Kurt Benkert

Chris Mangus 48-yard run

Alex Mattes 39-yard field goal


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