The 2012 spring football season is now complete after the annual Brown and Gold game capped off 15 practices. The Gold team lead the entire way in the 20-7 victory. I was predicting a victory by the White team but was certainly wrong. The real stars of the day were the defense on both sides of the ball. The depth and athleticism for the defense was a huge factor in this game.
First off though, why is the spring game called the "Brown and Gold" game but the teams are White and Gold?
Colby Kirkegaard took every single snap for the Pokes since Brett Smith was not competing in scrimmages. Kirkegaard finished 28 of 47 for 324 yards including two touchdowns and two interceptions. He must have been exhausted by never getting a series off. I'm sure that probably didn't help his performance by getting no rest or chance to talk strategy with the coaches between series. He did well with the short passes but missed several deep routes that could have gone for touchdowns. At halftime Kirkegaard was honored as the most improved offensive back for the spring.
The running backs also played for each team due to smaller numbers on the roster. Kody Sutton led the team with 41 yards on eight attempts. Brandon Miller ran 10 times for 32 yards. Zaquoya Parham had two carries for four yards but also had a fumble that was recovered by Marqueston Huff of the White team.
The biggest star of the day on offense was Dominic Rufran who had six catches for 112 yards and one touchdown for the Gold team. This was by far his best performance of the spring. James Caraway had five catches for the Gold team but only gained 14 yards. The White team was led by Trey Norman who had three catches for 52 yards including a thirty three yard touchdown. Robert Herron caught two passes for 33 yards.
The Gold team was leading 13-7 in the fourth quarter. That is when Kenny Browder of the white team intercepted Kirkegaard and returned it thirty four yards for a touchdown. That made the score 20-7 and it stayed that way. Darrenn White of the white team had a 41 yard interception return in the first half that setup a Daniel Sullivan field goal attempt of 41 yards that was missed wide right.
J.J. Quinlan led both teams with 11 tackles. Marqueston Huff had six tackles and a fumble recovery, Blair had five tackles. Zack Berg, Alex Borgs and Patrick Mertens each one sack. Safety Mark Nzeocha had five tackles and got rave reviews from Coach Christensen after the game.
"I think you saw that today with some great hits out there. I really noticed Mark Nzeocha today. I'm really pleased with his progress. There aren't a lot of 6-4, 230-pound safeties that can move like he can. He's the one guy who really stood out to me.
Here is the full list of spring award winners:
Specialist -- Daniel Sullivan, sophomore place-kicker
Offensive Lineman -- Daniel Fleischman, sophomore offensive tackle
Receiver -- Robert Herron, junior wide receiver
Offensive Back -- Colby Kirkegaard, junior quarterback
Defensive Lineman -- Kurt Taufa'asau, senior defensive tackle
Linebacker -- Zack Berg, redshirt freshman linebacker
Defensive Back -- Mark Nzeocha, sophomore safety
EARN YOUR SPURS - "Extra Effort"
QB - Colby Kirkegaard
QB/WR - Josh Smith
LB - Zack Berg
S - Mark Nzeocha
Coach Christensen also announced that walk-on LB J.J, Quinlan and QB/WR Josh Smith will both be put on scholarship. Both have had solid springs and worked very hard the last couple years to earn their scholarships. Great to see their hard work payoff.
We will more thoughts on the entire spring football season and insight on the 2012 season this week. Here are the full list of stats from the spring game.