Crompton shines in O&W

Tennessee's No. 1 quarterback carved up Tennessee's No. 2 defense like a Christmas turkey in leading the White past the Orange 38-16 in Saturday's annual spring game.

In fact, Jonathan Crompton was near flawless until he dropped the carving knife (figuratively speaking) by throwing an interception on his final pass of the scrimmage.

The strong-armed junior wasted no time showing this would be his coming-out party. He hooked up with Denarius Moore for a 74-yard touchdown bomb on the game's opening scrimmage play, completing 6 of 7 throws for 150 yards and two touchdowns by quarter's end.

Crompton cooled a bit thereafter but still finished 13 of 20 for 266 yards and three touchdowns. Perfectionist that he is, however, he could not hide his disappointment about the late interception.

"I threw that interception at the end, which always hurts," he said. "But I think leaving spring on a high note was a good way. I think I did a decent job but I can always do better."

Phillip Fulmer was a little less critical in his assessment.

"I thought he really had a good day except for that last ball," the head coach said. "We were actually going to put him back in so he wouldn't end up with an interception at the end but we decided it would be stupid to get him hurt or something."

Even without seeing the stat sheet, Fulmer surmised that Crompton's passing stats were "outstanding, particularly the first two-thirds of the scrimmage."

Although the defenses were limited somewhat, Crompton and the No. 1 offense looked unusually crisp in racing to a 35-3 halftime lead.

"I thought, early especially, we executed extremely well offensively," Fulmer said. "It was good to see Jon in that kind of rhythm."

Redshirt freshman quarterback B. J. Coleman, working against the No. 1 defense, also had some shining moments. He completed 9 of 13 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown.

"I thought he had a good day," Fulmer said. "He managed the huddle, for the most part, extremely well. He had two or three plays that he missed the signal but sometimes that happens with a young guy."

Sophomore quarterback Nick Stephens struggled a bit, completing just 6 of 17 attempts for 44 yards with two interceptions.

In addition to his 74-yard catch on the scrimmage's opening play, Moore also recorded a 17-yard TD catch. Josh Briscoe also had a productive afternoon, grabbing four balls for 72 yards and two TDs. Quinton Hancock added four receptions for 54 yards.

Gerald Jones turned in an eye-catching performance. He caught three passes for 47 yards and sparkled in two plays out of the "G-Gun" direct-snap package. He kept for a 12-yard gain on the first, then fired a 17-yard TD pass to Denarius Moore on the second.

"Gerald's a good player … can line up a lot of places in our offense," Fulmer said. "We're going to get the football to him."

In addition to his 74-yard pass to Moore, Crompton completed touchdown passes of 18 yards and 32 yards to Josh Briscoe.

"We had some really big plays in the passing game," Fulmer said, "but I'm not really happy right now with the way we ran the football overall."

With No. 1 tailback Arian Foster limited to one carry for eight yards, backups Lennon Creer (10 for 59) and Tauren Poole (12 for 52) carried most of the rushing load. Creer turned in the day's longest run, a 28-yarder.

Even with the defenses limited schematically, several linebackers turned in big days. Rico McCoy and Savion Frazier chipped in 7 tackles each, with Frazier also breaking up a pass. Nick Reveiz contributed 7 stops and a fumble recovery. Ellix Wilson chipped in 5 stops. LaMarcus Thompson had three tackles, two pass breakups and a 34-yard interception return.

End Wes Brown made all four of his stops behind the line, including two sacks. Fellow end Robert Ayers contributed 3 stops, with a tackle for loss and a pass breakup. Tackle Victor Thomas contributed just 2 tackles but both were sacks.

The secondary had its moments, too. Anthony Anderson led all tacklers with 8 stops. DeAngelo Willingham had 2 tackles and 2 pass breakups. Demetrice Morley had a tackle, 2 pass breakups and an 18-yard interception return. Eric Berry recorded a tackle, a pass breakup and a 25-yard interception return.

Despite some early-morning rain, the O&W Game drew an announced crowd of 28,988 fans.


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