Sophomore Jeremy Williams (right with ball) celebrates with a teammate after returning the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in Tulane's Spring Football game.
April 19, 2008
NEW ORLEANS - Sophomore tailback Andre Anderson rushed 19 times for 136 yards and a touchdown, while classmate Jeremy Williams returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a score and added a 34-yard touchdown reception during Tulane's 2008 Spring Football game today at the Westfeldt Practice Facility.
In the 15th and final football event of the spring season for the Green Wave, a near capacity crowd of 1,100 enjoyed a breezy, sunny afternoon packed full of big plays and hard hits.
"For the most part, I thought the kids played hard," Tulane head coach Bob Toledo said. "They had a lot of fun out there competing against each other. I was really impressed with André Anderson and Jeremy Williams, and Reggie Scott did a nice job. I just think we ended on a good note. We came out of it relatively healthy, and that was my biggest concern. We had an opportunity to see a lot of people get a lot of plays."
The crowd didn't have to wait long for the first big play as Williams hauled in Ross Thevenot's opening kick-off and returned it 100 yards down the right side of the field for the game's first touchdown.
Redshirt freshman Kevin Moore opened the game at quarterback for the Green Wave but was unable to lead the first team down the field for a score. Behind Anderson, Tulane ran the ball effectively, but could not convert on third down during the opening series. Anderson, who averaged 7.16 yards per rush today, carried the ball 12 times for 50 yards during the first half of the scrimmage.
"(Anderson) rushed for over a hundred yards. He carried people, and broke away and showed some speed. I just thought he did a great job. He's a workhorse. He's got to work hard this summer to come back and be in great physical shape, which I know he will be, and he's got to carry the load as a running back next fall," Toledo said.
Williams caught just two passes for 50 yards, but his first of the day brought the crowd to its feet. Redshirt Freshman Joe Kemp missed his first two pass attempts, but then connected in three straight throws. His last attempt was textbook toss over the top of the defense and into the arms of Williams for a 34-yard touchdown strike.
"One of the things we'll do is we'll design plays for him (Jeremy) during the course of the season to get more touches. He's a guy that can make big plays. Again, we weren't trying to game play today, but when we get into the season, we have to put him into a position where he gets the ball more," Toledo said.
Following a pair of stops by the first and second team defenses, Moore took over, but had his pass attempt deflected just passed the line of scrimmage by sophomore Troy Wilson and into the awaiting arms of classmate Travis Burks, who returned the interception all the way to the two-yard line. Two plays later, freshman tailback J.T. McDonald ran the ball into the end zone for the first rushing touchdown.
Junior Scott Elliott led TU's quarterbacking corps with 80 yards on 4-of-11 passing. However, a bulk of those yards came when he hit redshirt freshman Casey Robottom in stride over the middle and Robottom converted the pass into a 63-yard gain. He was dragged down at the four-yard line by a defender. One play later, freshman fullback Cody Blackwelder ran up the middle for the games' third touchdown.
It was fitting that the final touchdown of the contest came from Anderson, who is the heir-apparent to replace departing senior tailback Matt Forte who rushed for 2,127 yards in 2007, the seventh-best single season total in NCAA history.
Anderson seemed to get better as the game wore on by amassing 86 rushing yards in the second half. He was a one-man wrecking crew on the scoring drive, ripping off a 12-yard and 35-yard gain, and reaching pay dirt on a nine-yard jaunt around the left side.
Individually, Elliott led the quarterbacks in yards, but Kemp had the best passing percentage, hitting 5-of-8 attempts (.625) for 58 yards, while Moore was 5-of-10 passing for 49 yards. Kemp was the long signal caller to throw for a touchdown.
Along with Anderson, freshman fullback Jordan Stephany was the second-leading rusher with 24 yards on three attempts. Robottom led TU's receivers with two receptions for 71 yards, while sophomore Chris Dunn, junior Brian King and Stephany also caught two passes each.
Defensively, sophomore Cory Sonnier registered a team-best 10 tackles, including six solo stops and one breakup. Junior Julian Shives-Sams recorded two sacks for -13 yards, while sophomore Cody Sparks and classmate Logan Kelley recorded one quarterback sack apiece.
The Tulane offense produced four scores, amassed 467 total yards, including 350 yards on offense, while the defensive unit totaled 61 tackles with five stops coming for lost yardage, four sacks, an interception and seven breakups.
"We're playing a lot of young guys. We ended up recruiting five defensive linemen for this next year. It's a problem area because we don't have a lot of depth at that position, so I'm really concerned about that. It's the same thing with the offensive line to be honest. I think the big thing is our receivers - we didn't have as many as we had a year ago and we didn't recruit any this year, but I think they're performing at a higher level than they did last season," Toledo said.