The two offensive players in the spotlight Saturday were finally able to unleash their abilities as the main attractions. Two years of waiting –for different reasons – gave way to a solid opening act of football, as the pair produced early points and paved way for convincing victory by the Blues.
Jevan Snead began his college career at Texas before transferring to Ole Miss. Cordera Eason waited behind proven veterans for two seasons, playing only a limited amount of special teams.
But in the 2008 Grove Bowl, Snead and Eason came together in the backfield and combined for three touchdowns to spark a 40-14 whitewashing by the Blues over the Reds in front of a spring game record crowd of 28,311.
The announced attendance broke the previous mark set in 2002 with 27,215 fans. The Blue team was comprised of the "best," while the "rest" donned red jerseys. The coaching staff awarded one of the Red touchdowns in an attempt to even the game.
"I first appreciate the beautiful day, and then the ability to break a crowd record was amazing," Houston Nutt said. "The players are really appreciative, and the coaches were ecstatic."
After an opening carry of seven yards, Eason took back-to-back totes for scores of 44 yards and 46 yards respectively. The junior finished with seven carries for 101 yards.
Snead completed his first five passes on the day and tossed two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. In all, the redshirt completed 20-of-26 passes for 269 yards, two scores and one interception.
"Jevan had an excellent spring," Houston Nutt said. "He is fearless, has a quick release and doesn't flinch. I like all those things about him.
"Cordera really improved from that first practice until now. He has picked up quickly on our system and can do a lot to help us."
Benefiting from being the front man for Nutt's "Wild Rebel" formation, Dexter McCluster totaled 141 all-purpose yards and one touchdown. McCluster rushed for 35 yards on five carries and caught eight balls for 106. The junior's score came on a 21-yard run in with eight minutes remaining in the final quarter.
Joining McCluster with a big day in the air was Mike Wallace. The junior speedster had five catches worth 90 yards and also returned a kickoff 22 yards.
Also, Markeith Summers and Lionel Breaux caught touchdowns of 14 and six yards respectively.
Billy Tapp led the Red team at quarterback and was an efficient 7-of-10 for 69 yards, using an almost exclusive short passing strategy. Tapp also scored on a one-yard TD dive for the Red's only legitimate points.
Marcus Crockett handled the majority of the Red's rushing with 11 carries for 31 yards, including a long of 19.
Jacarious Lucas led the red pass catchers with one grab of 38 yards. Lucas appeared to score but accidentally stepped out of bounds on the way to the end zone.
The Blues compiled 409 yards of offense to the Red's 84 yards on 27 plays.
Jamariey Atterberry, Ashlee Palmer and Tony Fein led all players with five tackles apiece.
Rob Park averaged 40.8 yards on four punts, and Justin Sparks punted once for 38 yards.
Josh Shene was successful on both of his field goal attempts and all four extra points. Shene's field goals were 37 and 35 yards.
Snead, Eason key Grove Bowl win
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