Smith, Black Team take spring game, 19-7

NASHVILLE--Quarterback Larry Smith completed 16 of 26 passes for 233 yards and one touchdown and caught a touchdown pass himself to lift the Black Team to victory at the Black and Gold Spring Game on Sunday night in front of a crowd of 7500 fans inside Vanderbilt Stadium.

"Vanderbilt won tonight," said head football coach James Franklin after the game. "We won, I don't care what anybody says, and the big thing is we stayed healthy. With our depth issues, the way we practiced this spring, I would've loved to see us get more done and set more of a tempo and practice harder and be a little more physical, but the reality is we laid a foundation and we stayed pretty much healthy."

Smith worked well with wide receivers Jonathan Krause and Jordan Matthews, who combined for 11 catches for 188 yards and a touchdown, to help the de facto first-team offense crack a Gold Team littered with returning starters on defense in the intrasquad scrimmage.

Redshirt sophomore Charlie Goro started at quarterback for the Gold Team and completed five of his eight pass attempts for 36 yards. Goro also scrambled for a 15-yard touchdown in the first quarter that proved to be the Gold Team's only points of the game.

Aside from a handful of long completions down the field, including a 23-yard touchdown pass across the middle from Smith to Matthews with under 30 seconds to go in the first half, the night was dominated by big plays on the defensive side of the ball. The two defenses took advantage of a depleted offensive line to combine for eight sacks on Sunday night, led by two sacks each from Gold Team redshirt junior Colt Nichter and Black Team redshirt freshman Andrew East.

"I think it's very very obvious – with our need for offensive linemen here and our depth on our offensive line, the development of that position from now until Elon is going to be very important to our success," said Head Coach James Franklin. "From what I understand, it's kind of a similar story we've had the last couple of years. We've got to step up."

In addition to registering one sack for a six-yard loss, redshirt freshman defensive lineman Kyle Woestmann stepped in front of a screen pass in the first half and came up with an interception to set up a Black Team field goal by sophomore Carey Spear just a few plays later.

"The offensive tackle tried to cut me, and I shed the cut block," said Woestmann. "I could by tell the way the quarterback was setting up that it was going to be a screen, and I didn't know if it was to the other side or my side, so I just started sitting back, trying to find the running back, saw where it was about to go and was just in the right place at the right time. Caught it, tried to run, got about two yards and got tackled, but I was more focused on wrapping it up and not fumbling."

The Black Team offense ended the game on a positive note when Smith caught a 10-yard touchdown pass in traffic in the corner of the end zone from Zac Stacy on a trick play to bring the lead out to 12. Smith was not the only quarterback with a reception off of a halfback pass. In fact, walk-on quarterback John Townsley was Gold Team's leading receiver with one reception for 16 yards.

The Commodores open up their 2011 season in less than five months, against Elon in Nashville on September 3rd.

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