Maroon Team Holds on Late for Spring Game Win

Who says the results don't matter in the spring? With a steak dinner versus tuna fish sandwiches on the line on the line for the winning squad, the Maroon Team held on late, stuffing the Gold Team on 4th and short in overtime to hang on for a 29-23 win in Arizona State's annual Spring Game at Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday, in front of a record crowd of 8,456.

After forcing the Gold Team to a three and out on the morning's first possession, Taylor Kelly and the Maroon Team wasted very little time getting on the scoreboard. The Arizona State signal caller showed off his improved arm strength, connecting with senior wide receiver Jaelen Strong for a 63-yard strike on the first play of the drive, to put the Maroon Team inside the five yard line. Running back Deantre Lewis walked in from three yards out on the very next play.

Mike Bercovici and the Gold Team tried to respond on the following drive, but senior safety Damarious Randall came up with the game's only turnover, intercepting a Bercovici pass which eventually resulted in a 5-yard De'Marieya Nelson touchdown catch to extend the Maroon Team's lead.

While he struggled to find his rhythm for most of the day, Kelly completed just 7-21 passes for 93 yards and the aforementioned score to Nelson.

Led by running back D.J. Foster though, the Gold Team slowly began to dig themselves out of their early hole. Bercovici found Foster for three catches on the ensuing possession, including a 35-yard touchdown reception to finally get on the board.

Despite being limited in today's spring game (coach's decision), Foster finished with three receptions for 62 yards and two carries for seven yards on the day.

Bercovici completed 11-23 passes for 142 yards to go along with three touchdowns and one interception.

Running back Kyle Middlebrooks, who has bounced back from an ACL in jury with a solid spring effort, was held to just 12 yards on five carries on Saturday. The senior was shaken up late in the game with what appeared to be a shoulder injury but stated that he was okay following the game.

Fellow running back Deantre Lewis carried the load for the Maroon Team on the ground, rushing for 99 yards and one touchdown on only 12 carries.

Walk-on Fred Gammage, another one of the team's Spring surprises in camp, showed off his versatility with three catches for 20 yards. He also completed a 35-yard pass to Middlebrooks late in the contest after the Gold Team dialed up a little trickery catching the Maroon Team off guard.

The Sun Devils ended the scrimmage with each team receiving two overtime possessions. Trailing 29-23 heading into the final overtime period of the day, the Gold Team was faced with a 4th down and one situation. Back-up running back Jarik Hilgers attempted to bounce outside but was denied at the marker by Mo Latu, handing the Maroon Team both the victory and a steak dinner, as promised by Head Coach Todd Graham.

The defense played fairly well today. At some points they looked great, and others not so much. The secondary had to be the story for both defenses out there. Damarious Randall showed that he should be in the conversation of top safeties in the Pac-12, grabbing the aforementioned interception and breaking up a couple more of throws from Bercovici. Not to mention a blocked extra point. The interception was particularly impressive as he broke on an outside release route to cut it off and take the ball away. Bercovici didn't see him at all.

Antonio Longino was also impressive on the day. He filled the running lanes well and made tackles when he needed to. He could easily be the best linebacker on the team with his ability if he just grasped the defense a bit more. According to defensive coordinator Keith Patterson, he is his worst enemy. Salamo Fiso had two tipped passes on the day as well. D.J. Calhoun gradually got better as the scrimmage went along; he finished with a sack and four tackles.

Jordan Simone at safety was the leading tackler on the day for both sides, as he finished with nine tackles. He was flying all over the field and seemed to be around the ball quite often. There was one play where Simone looked overmatched: Graham called a corner blitz and had Jordan roll down to cover Jaelen Strong, but he streaked past for the biggest play of the day over the top.

The defensive line was altogether unimpressive. There wasn't any pressure for most of the day and not one guy stood out along that front. Yet, Mo Latu's fourth down stop in the OT segment did seal the T-Bone steaks for the winning maroon team.

Offensive stats – Spring Game

Maroon Team

Passing

Taylor Kelly 7-22-0, TD, Sack

Receiving

Cameron Smith 2-8

De'Marieya Nelson 1-5, TD

Jaelen Strong 1-62

Grant Martinez 1-5

Ronald Lewis 1-1

Rushing

Deantre lewis 12-88, TD

Jacob Brimhall 2-5

Gold Team

Passing

Mike Bercovici 11-24 149, 3 TD's, 1 INT

Fredrick Gammage 1-1 35

Receiving

D.J. Foster 3-67, TD

Fredrick Gammage 3-18

Marcus Washignton 2-24, TD

Gary Chambers 2-23

Ellis Jefferson 1-19, TD

Rushing

Kyle Middlebrooks 6-48

D.J. Foster 3-8

Defensive Stats – Spring Game

Maroon Team

Lloyd Carrington 4 tackles

Salamo Fiso 2 tackles, pass breakup

Marcus Hardison 2 tackles

Demetrius Cherry 2 tackles

Antonio Longino 2 tackles

Mo Latu 2 tackles

Ezekiel Bishop 2 tackles

Corey Smith tackle

Viliami Latu tackle

Ronnie Sellers tackle

Damarious Randall tackle, INT, pass breakup

D.J. Calhoun tackle

Viliami Moeakioloa tackle

Gold Team

Jordan Simone 9 tackles

James Johnson 3 tackles

D.J. Calhoun 2 tackles, sack

William Earley 2 tackles

Edmond Boateng tackle

James Johnson tackle

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