Big plays highlight A-State spring game

Big plays highlight A-State spring game

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JONESBORO - Arkansas State held its annual spring game Friday night, and "Coach Experience" winner Angie Gallaher led the Red Wolves' offense to a 55-47 victory over the defense, using a special scoring system put in place by the coaching staff.

The offense piled up 630 yards, including 406 passing and 224 rushing yards, and scored eight touchdowns. The defense earned points for forcing multiple 3-and-outs, collecting two turnovers and scoring one TD. While it didn't gain points for sacks or tackles for loss, the defense finished with seven and 14, respectively.

As part of the promotion, Gallahar chose Meredith Poland to act as the head coach on the opposite sideline. Both communicated with the coaching staff on the headset throughout the game, while also giving their team's pregame and halftime speeches.

"We had good energy, a great crowd, and I think the fans had a good time before, during and after the game," A-State head coach Blake Anderson said. "I hope that both our coaches had a good time, and I think they did. Really, I thought it was a good night that was great for the community."

The defense scored first and held the lead throughout the first half, putting its initial points on the board for back-to-back 3-and-outs to start the contest. An interception return for a touchdown by senior cornerback Rocky Hayes helped the defense build a 37-21 lead by the end of the first quarter, but it clung to just a 44-42 halftime advantage.

"We were able to accomplish what we wanted tonight, and I think we came out of it fairly healthy," said Anderson. "I thought early the defense was going to run away with it. The offense gave up two turnovers and there was a 21-point swing with the way the scoring system was set up, and that put the offense way behind in terms of how the game was going. It was good to see the offense battle back, get a couple of scores and make it a close game at halftime. There were some big plays on both side of the ball, though, and we saw some good things from both units."

The offense took its first lead on a DeKeathan Williams 22-yard TD run early in the third quarter, pulling ahead 48-47. Starting with Williams' score, the offense was responsible for the scrimmage's final 13 points.

Sophomore Cameron Birse and redshirt freshman James Tabary alternated at quarterback, finishing with a combined three touchdown passes. Birse hit 11-of-21 pass attempts for 199 yards and a TD, a 65-yard completion to senior wideout Tres Houston that was the longest play of the day. Tabary went 15-of-21 passing for 183 yards with TD passes to receiver Dijon Paschal and running back Johnston White.

Twelve different players had at least one rushing attempt, led by running back Logan Moragne with a game-high 78 yards and one TD. Michael Gordon followed with 64 yards and a score, while Katon Hill and Terrance Hollingsworth also had one rushing TD. Receiver Sterling Stowers hauled in a game-high five passes, while Houston was responsible for a team-best 103 receiving yards.

Defensively, linebacker Austin Copeland recorded a game-high nine tackles and finished with the squad's only fumble recovery. Six different players combined to record seven sacks, including defensive lineman Chase Robinson with a team-high two. Additionally, 14 players combined to post 14 tackles loss for loss.

Arkansas State will conclude its 2015 spring camp with practice on Monday. Season tickets for the 2015 season remain on sale and may be purchased by visiting the A-State Ticket Office, located at the Convocation Center, or by calling 870-972-2781.


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