The Green team used a revamped rushing attack and an opportunistic defense to post a 24-3 victory over the White team in the second annual Green-White Spring Game in front of a crowd of 9,054.
The Green team, featuring backs Demarrell Alexander and Joc Watkins, rushed for 175 yards during the four, 15-minute running clock periods. Alexander, who was the 49ers fourth-leading rusher, last fall, scored on a 33-yard burst in the third quarter and Watkins, a rising red-shirt freshman, scored on a three-yard run in the fourth quarter. Alexander finished with 95 yards rushing while Watkins had 75 yards rushing. 2013 leading rusher Kalif Phillipsdid not compete in contact drills this spring due to off-season shoulder surgery.
"I though the day was great," said head coach Brad Lambert. "We had a great crowd and they were loud. The defense was really hawking the ball. Last year, we did a great job of turnover margin, but today that was something to work on. We've got to hold onto the ball better."
The Green team forced five turnovers with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries and the White team also recovered two fumbles.
"My grade is an 'A'," said Green safety Ardy Holmes of the defensive effort. "We flew around and that's what we always do."
Holmes, who had a fumble recovery and an interception, gave Green the first score of the game on a 50-yard interception return on a tipped pass from Lee McNeill. In the second quarter. The White team took advantage of Terry Caldwell's fumble recovery at the Green 24-yard line to set up a 29-yard field goal from Blake Brewer.
Green responded with the longest drive of the day, a 14-play, 51-yard drive that ate up 12:48 on the clock and led to a Brewer 36-yard field goal. Watkins had four carries for 29 yards during the drive that gave the Green team a 10-3 halftime edge.
In the third quarter, the teams traded fumbles before Holmes recovered a fumble at the White 41-yard line. Three plays later, Alexander broke free for a 33-yard touchdown run on third-and-two to make it 17-3.
"DA (Damarrel Alexander) keeps improving and keeps working his way up," Lambert said. "Our offensive line has been really consistent. I'm really proud of how they worked."
Watkins completed the scoring early in the fourth quarter with a four-yard TD run that capped a 7-play; 46-yard drive and gave Green their 24-3 victory.
Holmes, December signee Branden Dozier and Jalen Holt all had interceptions for the Green team while another December signee Nick Cook and Holmes both had fumble recoveries.
The White team got fumble recoveries from Caldwell and Daquavius Reid. The White backfield was led by Donjore Gainey (6 rushes; 34 yard) and Quintin Gay (8 rushes; 27 yards).
Quarterback Matt Johnson was4-of-9 for the Green team for 34 yards, including a 17-yarder to Trent Bostick to the White 11 but Bostick fumbled when he was hit by safety Prince Mayela, leading to Reid's recovery. Lee McNeill was 5-of-7 for 23 yards for the White team and also 2-of-4 for an additional 19 yards while quarterbacking the Green team.
Nosetackle Tanner Fleming led Green with four tackles while Reid led White with seven tackles. Rising red-shirt freshman Dustin Crouser and transfer Josh Manley both regsitered sacks for the Green team.
"I've been really proud of this team all fall in their preparation," Lambert added. "They came out every day and worked -- and they did that all spring."