It is an annual tradition around college football for a team to showcase early progress from off-season workouts in a spring scrimmage, and Eastern Michigan is no different holding its yearly spring game Saturday afternoon in Ypsilanti.
Second year head coach Chris Creighton and his staff led his team in the annual inter-squad scrimmage from Rynearson Stadium. The two teams included the green shirts, who were comprised of the offensive players, and the white shirts, or the defensive team.
“We had several goals.” Creighton said. “The biggest thing is that we wanted to become more disciplined as a program. We charted that out with the players and being second year in the offensive, defensive and special teams system, just needed to get the nuances of the system go through.”
The white team came away with a 42-27 win, but the scoring system wasn’t the typical football scoring structure. The offense, or green team in this case, received the typical six points per touchdown and three points per field goal, but also earned one point after every first down. The defense, or white team, earned two points for every three-and-out, one point on sacks or tackles for loss, five points on a turnover and 11 points for a touchdown.
In addition to offense and defense, at the end of each quarter, each team had a kick competition, testing the accuracy and leg of each of the kickers and punters to earn on point per successful kick.
The green team struggled throughout the first half, failing to score a single touchdown while the White team led 21-5 at the five minute halftime break.
Starting quarterback Reggie Bell appeared to find some rhythm during the rest of the scrimmage, throwing two touchdown passes, one to receiver Dustin Creel and the other to tight end Cole Gardner.
“At times it was a little frustrating, other times it felt good.” Bell said of his afternoon. “We didn’t come out full throttle like I expected, we didn’t come out playing our best like we could’ve, but we were progressing throughout.”
Running back Juwan Lewis emerged in ways as well during the game, gaining a few first downs to go along with a 61-yard run, the longest play of the day for the Green team. Wide receiver Austin Stone recorded the longest reception on the day, with a 48-yard catch and run from backup quarterback Brogan Roback.
In addition to fans and parents of current players, EMU hosted the entire 2015 recruiting class to watch the game and gain familiarity with the team.
With the spring game now in the books, EMU now continues offseason workouts in preparation for the regular season. The season kicks off Sept. 5 from Rynearson Stadium as EMU plays host to Old Dominion.