FAU defense defeats offense, 32-31, in 2013 Spring Game

Zack Kelberman

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On the day that FAU honored Alfred Morris, the team gave its proud alumnus much to cheer about.

Using a special scoring system, the Owls’ defense defeated the offense 32-31 in the 2013 Spring Game on Saturday afternoon at FAU Football Stadium.

The story of the day was the defense, which got after FAU’s quarterbacks early and often, recording seven sacks, two interceptions, a safety, and several stops. For this game, interceptions were worth six points each, sacks were worth two, and stops were worth one.

Redshirt senior defensive lineman Martin Wright contributed with a sack, and was proud of the way his teammates left it on the field.

“Effort, effort,” Wright emphasized. “[The defensive line] gave some of the best effort I’ve ever seen.”

Defensive backs Winfred Strickland and Cre’von LeBlanc each picked off a pass and provided tight coverage on the Owls’ receivers.

While the defense shined, all eyes were on the offense, which featured three quarterbacks –– Melvin German, Stephen Curtis, and Jaquez Johnson –– competing for the starting job.

German opened the game under center and, on a 16-play drive, led the offense to a 27-yard field goal by Mitch Anderson.

Throughout the afternoon, German was arguably the best quarterback, showing an impressive mix of passing and rushing ability. He finished 8-of-13 for 88 yards, adding another 27 yards on nine rushes. His only blemishes were the two aforementioned interceptions.

Curtis (3-of-10 for 47 yards) and Johnson (5-of-7 for 33 yards) rotated series’ after German, but both turned in fairly unimpressive outings.

“Offensively, we didn’t have an overall terrible day,” Curtis said. “We just couldn’t finish in the redzone.”

FAU Head Coach Carl Pelini admitted the offense was strategically “vanilla” for fear of future opponents scouting their tendencies on tape.

“We were fairly certain Miami had someone here,” Pelini jokingly said of FAU’s week one regular season opponent.

Nevertheless, Pelini was pleased from what he saw of German, hinting that he has a definite edge.

“I’d say [German’s] a little bit ahead of the other two,” Pelini said. “It would break my heart if he wasn’t [ready to start].”

In all, the offense paved the way for four field goals and a lone touchdown on a four-yard scamper from Curtis on the game’s final play. Senior Daniel McKinney led all receivers with four catches for 59 yards, and sophomore running back Jeremy Gaskins led rushers with 55 yards on eight carries.

The offensive scoring system awarded one point for plays of 16 yards or more, and one point for first downs.

By far, though, the fans’ biggest highlight came at halftime when Morris, FAU’s all-time leading rusher and current Redskins running back, was honored with ceremonial plaques and a key to the city from Boca Raton Deputy Mayor Susan Haynie.

Morris was greeted by raucous applause and cheer, something that reflected an overall positive day.

“It was fun,” Pelini said. “Guys played hard. Our defensive line played really well. Our offensive line stepped up, and we ran the ball fairly well. That’s what I was impressed with.”