Illinois Football Spring Game Impressive

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The Illinois White Team scored four touchdowns, including one by the defense to post an impressive 33-16 victory over the Blue Team, Saturday afternoon at the annual spring game at Memorial Stadium. Junior quarterback Tim Brasic hit 67 percent of his passes for 195 yards, while junior tailback E.B. Halsey rushed for two touchdowns in the winning effort.

The White Team jumped out to a 13-0 start following Halsey's one and four-yard touchdowns. The Blue team then used a 36-yard Jason Reda field goal to get on the board and began to gain momentum when Jarvis Newson forced a fumble which Brian Brosnan recovered for a 45-yard touchdown. Another Reda field goal, this time for the White team, made the halftime score 16-10. The White increased the lead with three straight scores in the second half. The defense got in the endzone on the second of four interceptions on the afternoon, when James Cooper picked off a pass for a 43-yard return. Fullback Jason Davis made the most of a 17-yard pass from Brasic and Reda added a 26-yard field goal to get 33 points. In the final minutes of the fourth, Chris Pazan, playing for the Blue, hit Bryant Creamer for a six-yard touchdown to make the final score 33-16.

For the White Team, Pierre Thomas led all rushers with 59 yards on 10 carries, while tight end Melvin Bryant caught five passes for 70 yards to lead the receiving corps. Sophomore receiver DaJuan Warren also had five receptions for 43 yards. Defensively, the White team posted four interceptions by Cooper, Morris Virgil, Kyle Kleckner and Charles Bailey. Defensive linemen Jeff Sobol and Cyrus Garrett spent a bit of time in the backfield today with Sobol recording three sacks and Garrett registering two.

Leading the way for the Blue as both a rusher and receiver was running back Marcus Mason with 13 carries and 48 yards on the ground and another three catches for 12 yards. Junior Chris Pazan led the Blue quarterbacks with 72 yards on 7-of-15 passing. On the defense, linebacker J. Leman totaled a game-high 15 stops and three tackles for loss.

Post-Game Quotes from UI Head Coach Ron Zook

On the team's progress:

"We've had a productive, good spring. We still have a long way to go. We've got a chance to do things that people don't expect us to do. We've still got 3 ½ or 4 months to go, and how much work we put in this summer will determine a lot of how our season goes. Early in the game we played trying not to make mistakes. We just need to play fast and with a lot of emotion. We're not where we'd like to be, but realistically, if you look at it, we are where we should be. The first 7 days or so of practice, we didn't do much. After that you begin to see sparks; the more you do of something, the better you get at it."

On the quarterback race:

"Tim Brasic did a good job. We're throwing the ball around a lot, but any team must run to be successful. Chris (Pazan) did a good job; the other (quarterbacks) did well. Kisan (Flakes) is a weapon, he's a little different, and he'll run more. We need to get him out of the mentality of run first, pass second. Billy (Garza) has got a long summer to go. There's still a lot of thinking going on about this position. You can't go out one day and play well, you've got to be consistent. You've got to take care of the football and get in and out of the huddle without making bad plays."

On the offense:

"Every offense is personnel-directed. My experience is on defense, so I like to do stuff on offense that I wouldn't want to see on the defensive side."

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