Football QB battle, defense highlight Troy’s spring game

Scott Watkins

Staff Writer

The Troy football team put a bow on spring practice with its annual T-Day game on Saturday in front of a record crowd.

The game pitted the Cardinal team, the offense, against the Silver team, the defense. The Silver squad came away with the 47-33 victory.

“These spring games are about having a good time for our players,” said Troy Head Coach Neal Brown. “We have 14 practices to prepare, and the T-Day game is about performing, getting them out here and having a little fun.”

The scrimmage featured several promotions and games for students between breaks, including a punt, pass and kick competition.

Just like last year’s spring finale, the spring game was far from traditional.

The game started with an offensive line versus defensive line competition which gave the offense a 3-2 lead to begin the day.

The teams then took the field with Kaleb Barker taking the first snaps at quarterback.

Barker’s offense struggled to move the ball as the Silver front seven made itself at home in the backfield. Quarterback Sawyer Smith led the second drive and was met with much of the same pressure from the Silver team. Heading into Barker’s second drive, the Silver team led 7-3 thanks to being rewarded with points for making plays on defense.

Barker’s second drive was cut short when safety Tyler Knudsen picked off his pass, giving Silver another six points and a 13-3 lead.

Smith then took over and was able to get the Cardinal team downfield for the first time. He capped off his drive with a short touchdown pass to wide receiver Luke Whittemore to cut the Silver lead to 13-10.

Barker was then able to get the first team offense across the opposing 30-yard line for the first time, but the Cardinal team was unable to convert on third down.

The defense earned a point and took a 14-10 lead into the second quarter.

Instead of continuing the scrimmage in the second quarter, the quarterbacks led skeleton drills for the entirety of the 12-minute period.

The drill was entirely wide receivers and running backs against linebackers and defensive backs with no line of scrimmage play.

The Cardinal team got off to a slow start as Barker missed a couple of receivers and Smith followed up with an interception.

Barker was able to find a rhythm near the end of the drill and dropped in a touchdown pass to make the score 27-24 Silver team.

Points were given out during halftime as well as the injured players from each side had to run a relay race. The Silver team won the competition and increased its lead to 32-24.

The third quarter featured some excitement early as linebacker Tron Folsom picked off a pass from Smith on the first drive.

On Cardinal’s next drive, Barker found wide receiver Traveon Samuel over the middle, who took it to the house for a 65-yard touchdown pass.

Kicker Evan Legassey missed the extra point to leave the offense with 30 points to the defenses’ 38.

The remainder of the third quarter and much of the fourth went by uneventfully as the backups got their reps in.

The scrimmage was then capped off with a two-minute drill led by Barker.

The drive started with 1:47 left on the clock, the exact time left when Troy began its go-ahead drive against Arkansas State last season.

The offense wasn’t able to move the ball vertically but advanced downfield with check downs and several Barker scrambles.

The drive came to a quick end, though, when linebacker Carlton Marshal picked off a Barker pass batted at the line of scrimmage.

The interception added another six points for the defense, and the Silver team clinched the victory.

Troy will return to the field in late summer to begin fall camp in preparation for the season opener against Boise State on September 1.

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