Not that the Crimson passing game was perfect. They had their share of overthows and dropped balls, but generally made the big plays when they needed to and were not intercepted.
The Crimsons - - made up of first team Cougars and main reserves - - started the scoring when Jerome Riley ran a reverse in from 12 yards early in the second quarter. The receiver would hit pay dirt twice more on passes from Jason Gesser and Matt Kegel, covering 6 and 40 yards, respectively. Riley led all receivers with 108 yards on 8 catches.
Crimson receiver Trandon Harvey was also on the receiving end of a pair of TD passes. The first, from Gesser, went in from 50-yards out; the next, from Kegel, distanced 33-yards. Harvey also crossed the century mark in receiving yards, tallying 106 on 4 grabs.
Both Crimson quarterbacks passed for over 200 yards, with Gesser connecting on 16 of 33 throws for 214 yards, and Kegel hitting 11 of 16 for 203. Head coach Mike Price, watching the game from the press box, had high praise for Kegel's performance today - - and all spring - - following the scrimmage.
Aside from one big play, the Gray air game never quite got off the runway. Facing a voracious Crimson pass push, the Gray QBs - - Chris Hurd, Josh Swogger, Dayton Dennison, and Dan St. Mary - - completed just 6 of 17 pass attempts for 74 yards. Both Ira Davis and Karl Paymah intercepted a Gray pass and the Crimson defense recorded four sacks, one each by D.D. Acholonu, Rien Long, Tai Tupai, and Jeremey Williams.
The Grays only score of the day came on a 46-yard pass from Hurd to Jevon Miller following a Ray Bonnell fumble recovery -- forced by defensive back Aaron Joseph - - early in the third quarter.
Miller, the Anchorage native who came to Wazzu as a defensive back, then switched to running back, has practiced at the wide receiver position for just over a week. The redshirt freshman led all Gray receivers by catching 3 passes for 62 yards.
Mike Bush, Curtis "Flea" Nettles, and Thomas Ostrander also contributed positively to the Crimson passing game. Bush snared 5 balls for 78 yards; Nettles earned 45 yards on 2 grabs, including a sweet sliding catch that covered 30-plus yards; Ostrander pulled down 3 for 18 yards.
Four receivers were absent from today's scrimmage: Devard Darling (sore ankle), Marty Martin (sore calf), Anthony Buchanan (setting records for Cougar track), and Collin Henderson (2 for 5 today in WSU's baseball win over UCLA). Darling, the Florida State transfer, and Martin, the Puyallup High product, had been enjoying outstanding spring performances prior to their injuries.
Neither squad produced much of a running game. John Tippins had some nice runs, but finished with just 40 yards on 14 carries. JC transfer Jermaine Green carried the swine 6 times for 25 yards before aggravating his knee and staying on the sidelines for most of the game. Redshirt freshman Allen Thompson - - the starter coming into spring drills -- did not suit up due to a lingering ankle injury. Tippins scored from 1-yard out in the second quarter and caught two passes out of the backfield for 11 yards.
Three projected offensive line starters were not suited up for the game: Derrick Roche (injury), Josh Parrish (academics), and Phil Locker (injury). Riley Fitt-Chappell played on both squads O-lines and received high scores from the coaching staff as did Billy Knotts, who saw action out of postion at center.
The questions surrounding the tight-end position were somewhat answered today. Crimson ends Mark Ahlberg and Troy Bienemann combined for 3 catches for 51 yards and showed improvement in the blocking arena. Bienemann, a redshirt freshman from Santa Clara, made a highlight film catch that had the cold Martin Stadium crowd oohing. Gray TE Adam West also caught one pass for 9 yards and looked good for the most part on his blocking assignments.
The disadvantaged Gray squad played with grit and determination, most notably from defensive back Cole Sheridan and defensive tackle Tomasi "King" Kongaika. Sheridan, the Pullman native, made several outstanding pass defenses. Kongaika applied a constant pressure on the Crimson offense and was all over the field.
Coach Price also offered praise for the defensive play of two linebackers, the Crimson's Al Genatone and Gray's Mawuli Davis. Two other linebackers that are expected to contribute next fall, Will Derting and Derrick Dillon, sat out the game with injuries.
On the kicking end of the game, Kyle Basler punted well today, averaging over 45 yards per kick, and All Pac-10 kicker Drew Dunning connected on 2 of 3 field goals, with a long of 44 yards. Redshirt freshman Graham Siderius also saw action today, hitting on 1 of 2 extra points.The pair also handled kick-off duties, as starting KO specialist Adam Holiday sat out the game for academic reasons.
It was somewhat difficult to get a good read on special teams, as the defenses were instructed to only simulate a rush with a single advancing step on punt, field goal, and PAT attempts. Additionally, kick and punt returners were whistled down by a one-handed touch by a member of the coverage unit. Despite this limitation, Erik Coleman nearly took a punt return all the way. The special rules were imposed to avoid injuries.
At least five members of the Gray team have familial ties to former - - and future - - football Cougs. Receiver McKenzie Hansell is the son of Tyler Hansell, a WSU letterman from 1967-69. Blair Hawkins, a running back, is the brother of Adam Hawkins, also a RB and best remembered for his bull-rush performance against Hawaii in 1999. Running back Kealan Smith is the brother of CouGreat and Minnesota Viking linebacker Raonall Smith. Linebacker Ray Bonnell is the older brother of future Cougar QB Carl Bonnell, who enrolls this fall at WSU. Defensive back Anthony Burnett is the brother of one-time Cougar RB Deon Burnett.
DOC FARLEY FAN CLUB
Since the release of the Crimson and Gray roster a few days ago, the Cougfan.com message board and our email inbox has been buzzing with comments and questions regarding linebacker Doc Farley. In fact, we haven't come across a player whose name enamored so many fans since Kyle Stiffarm (we admit to being taken with the name, also…it would've been a natural fit on the 1916 Cougar Rose Bowl roster). We're pleased to report the Montana native was in on four defensive stops today.
1st Quarter No scoring 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter 4th Quarter PASSING Crimson - Gesser 33/16/0/214, Kegel 16/11/0/203 RUSHING Crimson - Tippins 14/40, Green 6/25, Gesser 2/11, Riley 1/12, Ryan 3/-5, Kegel 1/-7 RECEIVING Crimson - Riley 8/108, Harvey 4/106, Bush 5/78, Nettles 2/45, Bienemann 2/41, Ostrander 3/18, Tippins 2/11, Ahlberg 1/10 TACKLES Crimson - Acholonu 5/4/1, Genatone 4/4/0, Bennett 3/2/1, J. Williams 3/2/1 SACKS Crimson - Acholonu 1/-8, Long 1/-7, Tupai 1/-6, J. Williams 1/-6 Interceptions Crimson - Paymah 1, Davis 1
Crimson - Riley 12-yard run (Dunning kick)
Crimson - Dunning 44-yard field goal
Crimson –Tippins 1-yard run (Dunning kick)
Crimson - Dunning 42-yard field goal
Gray - Miller 46-yard pass from Hurd (Siderius kick)
Crimson - Riley 6-yard pass from Gesser (Dunning kick)
Crimson - Harvey 50-yard pass from Gesser (Dunning kick)
Crimson - Safety, ball snapped out of the endzone
Crimson - Harvey 33-yard pass from Kegel (Dunning kick)
Crimson - Riley 40-yard pass from Kegel (kick failed)
Gray - Hurd 7/3/0/68, Swogger 8/2/1/6, Dennison 1/0/1/0, St. Mary 1/0/0/0
Gray- Anderson 1/0 Ryan 3/-1, Hurd 2/-16, Hawkins 3/6, Dennison 1/-1, Bolton 3/-3 Miller 2/2 Swogger 2/-12, Smith 1/-2
Gray - Miller 3/62, West 1/9, Faries 1/3
Gray - Burnett 6/6/0, Dicko 6/4/2, Joseph 6/2/4, Crump 5/3/2, Wendell Smith 4/4/0, Boyer 4/2/2, Davis 4/2/2, Farley 4/3/1
Gray - Dicko 1/-7, Smith 1/-12
Gray - none
Crimson - Gesser 33/16/0/214, Kegel 16/11/0/203
Crimson - Tippins 14/40, Green 6/25, Gesser 2/11, Riley 1/12, Ryan 3/-5, Kegel 1/-7
Crimson - Riley 8/108, Harvey 4/106, Bush 5/78, Nettles 2/45, Bienemann 2/41, Ostrander 3/18, Tippins 2/11, Ahlberg 1/10
Crimson - Acholonu 5/4/1, Genatone 4/4/0, Bennett 3/2/1, J. Williams 3/2/1
Crimson - Acholonu 1/-8, Long 1/-7, Tupai 1/-6, J. Williams 1/-6
Crimson - Paymah 1, Davis 1