The Orange squad got a 19-yard touchdown run by Jamel Martin with 3:51 left, and Matt Oczypok's PAT kick gave the Orange a 14-13 victory over the White at Doyt Perry Stadium in the Spring Game Friday, April 13. Here's a look at the contest. ...
BiG TWITTER POST: Well-coached Orange squad scores TD with 3:51 left to claim 14-13 victory over White in BG's 2012 Spring Gme at Perry Stadium Friday
BiG OVERVIEW: The Falcons had good moments on both offense and defense -- or bad moments on offense and defense, if you are a pessimist. The first quarter saw two long drives, with the Orange seeing the drive stall and the White getting a 29-yard field goal by Tyler Tate. Heath Jackson took the ensuing kickoff 84 yards to set up a 2-yard TD toss from Matt Schilz to Herve Coby early in the second period. After that neither team generated much offense, and the Orange led 7-3 at the half. In the third quarter White dominated the field-position game and turned it into a 25-yard field goal by Tate with 12 seconds left in the quarter. Early in the fourth period Alex Carter raced through the line 66 yards for a score that gave the White a 13-7 lead. But the Orange drove 42 yards on nine plays and used a 19-yard touchdown run by Jamel Martin with 3:51 left to regain the lead 14-13. Cameron Truss sealed the win by intercepting a pass by Matt Johnson and the Orange offense got two first downs to end it.
BiG PLAY: The most important play in the contest was a downer for both sides. It came with the Orange trailing 13-7 in the fourth quarter but having drive to the White's 31. Facing a fourth-and-10, Matt Schilz threw an incompletion to Chris Gallon that seemed to end things for the Orange. But a personal foul was called on the White, giving the Orange new life: a automatic first down, and the ball moved to the White's 16, with Jamel Martin scoring the game-winning touchdown two plays later.
OFFENSIVE BiG MAN, ORANGE: Sophomore wide receiver Heath Jackson was a big part of the Orange offense, catching a team-high five passes for 44 yards, with a long of 16 yards. Jackson ran one jet sweep for three yards, and he made a huge contribution on special teams, returning a kickoff 84 yards to set up his team's first touchdown. He finished with 141 yards on four kickoff returns, an average of 35.25 yards per return. Jackson finished with a game high 188 all-purpose yards. ... Honorable mention to RB Jamel Martin, who had a game-high 86 yards rushing and one TD on 20 carries; QB Matt Schilz, who completed 19-of-36 passes for 185 yards and one TD with no turnovers; and WR Herve Coby, who caught four passes for 50 yards with a long of 24 and a nifty 2-yard TD catch.
OFFENSIVE BiG MAN, WHITE: Freshman wide receiver Ryan Burbrink led all receivers with seven catches for 44 yards, with the longest going nine yards. Burbrink also had a punt return of 18 yards in the second quarter. ... Honorable mention to RB Alex Carter, whose 66-yard TD run allowed him to finish with 67 yards rushing on three carries; QB Matt Johnson, who completed 16-of-30 passes for 131 yards despite getting sacked five times and pressured several others; and WR Je'Ron Stokes, who finished with five catches for 54 yards, including a 26-yard catch-and-run on the White's first play from scrimmage.
DEFENSIVE BiG MAN, ORANGE: There were several players who put together strong performances for the Orange, but let's give the nod to junior Cameron Truss, who finished with five tackles in the contest. He also made the play that sealed the win for the Orange, intercepting a Matt Johnson pass near midfield that allowed the Orange to run out the clock for the win. Truss also broke up another pass in the win. ... Honorable mention goes to DB Brian Sutton, who led the team with 10 tackles -- including six solo stops -- and also had a sack; LB Coy Brown, who had seven tackles in his first Spring Game after enrolling in school in the spring semester; and DT Ted Ouellet, who justified his position as the Orange's top draft pick by finished with three sacks and four tackles.
DEFENSIVE BiG MAN, WHITE: This squad also didn't lack for candidates, but one who stood out was DB Darrell Hunter. The true sophomore finished with seven solo tackles, intercepted one pass to give the White good field position in the third quarter, and broke up three others passes. ... Honorable mention goes to junior DB BooBoo Gates, who led his team with nine tackles, including six solo stops, and had one tackle for loss; LB D.J. Lynch, who had eight tackles, including five solo stops; and DE Ronnie Goble, who had six tackles, including one sack and one other tackle for loss.
SPECIAL TEAMS BiG MAN, ORANGE: He was on the field for just five plays, but junior K Matt Oczypok handled his work flawlessly. His three kickoffs averaged 56 yards per kick, and he made both of his extra points, including a pressure-packed kick with 3:51 left to play that proved to be the difference in the game. He also laid down a beautiful on-side kick to start the second half, although that play was nullified by a penalty. Remember, the Falcons haven't been practicing on-side kicks (so who was the knucklehead coach who called for it? Oh, never mind). ... Honorable mention to junior punter Brian Schmiedebusch, who averaged 41.6 yards per punt, including a long of 47, and landed two inside the 20; Heath Jackson, who was mentioned above; and Travis Greene, who had a 15-yard punt return but also fumbled one other punt.
SPECIAL TEAMS BiG MAN, WHITE: Junior punter Brian Schmiedebusch was terrific for the Orange team but was outstanding for the White. He averaged 43.2 yards per punt on six kicks, including a long of 51, and had three kicks downed inside the 20. Only a paranoid Orange team "coach" would notice that all of those numbers were better than his numbers kicking for the Orange. ... Honorable mention to Ryan Burbrink, who was mentioned above; K Tyler Tate, who averaged 57.5 yards on four kickoffs, made his lone PAT kick and also made field goals of 29 and 25 yards; and Diontre Delk, who returned three kickoffs 86 yards, with a long of 36 yards.
BiG NUMBERS: One area worth watching in the contest was the competition between the defensive line and the offensive line. While the D-Line did seem to have the better of the play, it didn't dominate as it did in last year's spring game. The Orange offensive line gave up just two sacks on 44 pass attempts and had just six of its 31 rushing attempts go for zero or negative yards (I'm not counting the two plays run in "victory" formation). Things didn't go quite as well for the White, which did suffer five sacks, but the White also had only three running plays for zero or negative yards (and the total was minus-2). I guess the title of this note was misleading: Perhaps the "BiG" news was that the negative "numbers" by the offensive line weren't that big.
BiG QUESTION: Can the Falcons continue to make strides in the summer? There still are questions to be answered, especially at wide receiver and on the offensive line. There also is some tweaking that can help the team improve at nearly every positon. But, as coach Dave Clawson reminded the media after the contest, the Falcons won't play an official contest until September, so there is time.
Click here to read The Blade story from Friday's Spring Game.
Check back here Sunday for a few additional thoughts about the game, and the team, as spring practice comes to an end.