I guess I need to include a SPOILER ALERT for those who weren't able to watch the live stream. If for some reason you want the ending of the Spring Game to be a mystery, and yet you still are on this blog, stop reading now. The full game is airing right now on tape delay on BTN and will be replayed several times this week.
Brandon Peters was the best quarterback on the day. [Eric Upchurch]
For the second straight year, the Spring Game came down to the final play. Kyle Seychel's 31-yard field goal gave the Brandon Peters-led Maize team a 31-29 victory over the Speight/O-Korn-piloted Blue team.
Newsy bits first: Juwann Bushell-Beatty was among the players sitting out, so the starting O-line from left to right was Cole-Bredeson-Kugler-Onwenu-Runyan. The coaches shuffled that combination quite a bit throughout the day even before Runyan exited with an apparent leg injury—he walked off under his own power. The other injury on the day was to Eddie McDoom, who went down awkwardly on the sideline after a deep catch in the fourth quarter; he needed help from the trainers to get to the sideline, eventually was carted into the tunnel, and was spotted walking around without assistance.
Here are a few initial standouts from each side of the ball; we'll have much more this week after a re-watch.
QB Brandon Peters. Peters had the best day of the quarterbacks, displaying good arm strength, touch on throws to all levels, and enough athleticism to repeatedly break the pocket and even scramble for a touchdown. While Peters had one ugly pick when he didn't see Brandon Watson waiting in the flat, Speight was worse in that regard. Caveats abound: it's one scrimmage and Peters got better protection from the line. That said, he Looked like he could legitimately push Speight, especially if the incumbent starter doesn't clean up some of these sloppy mistakes.
RBs Karan Higdon and Ty Isaac. These two had the most complete days at running back, showing patience on impressive touchdown runs and breaking into the secondary multiple times. Chris Evans and Kareem Walker also looked good in less extended action; Evans looked bigger while still maintaining his ability to juke defenders in a phone booth, while Walker has an enticing combination of power and patience. There weren't always holes to hit, but when they were there, the backs made the most of them.
Tarik Black, not Donovan Peoples-Jones, had the best day of the freshman WRs. [Upchurch]
WRs Tarik Black and Nate Schoenle. Black dominated much of the second half, becoming John O'Korn's go-to guy on a touchdown drive in which he caught a fade over Benjamin St-Juste for a big gain, then beat St-Juste to the back corner to cap the drive. He managed to get over top of St-Juste on fly routes a Couple times, and he provides a big target. Schoenle also had a couple long catches, including a ~50-yard throw from Peters that was perfectly executed on both ends. To stave off the inevitable questions, Donovan Peoples-Jones had a few short pickups on a relatively quiet day for him.
TEs Nick Eubanks and Zach Gentry. Gentry's inclusion here is based on one play, a long touchdown catch up the seam on a coverage bust; he's quite nimble for such a big dude. Eubanks had a more complete body of work, running a nice out route for a catch and nearly hauling in a deep throw from Peters on which he made a nice adjustment to the ball. Sean McKeon ended up with the most targets among the TE group but didn't get too much out of them.
OL Andrew Vastardis. I mostly have to punt on line play, as they shuffled around so much that it was tough to keep track of who was on the field from the press box. The right side of the starting line had a lot of trouble against the starting D-line—Chase Winovich and Rashan Gary dominated Runyan—but Vastardis stood out on the interior of the second unit, picking up a couple blitzes that were giving the other linemen trouble.
Devin Bush spent the afternoon in the backfield. [Bryan Fuller]
The starting D-line. As expected, the Winovich-Hurst-Mone-Gary line gave the offensive line a lot of trouble. Gary was flat-out dominant, Hurst batted down a couple passes, Mone held strong on the interior, and Winovich got multiple pressures off the edge.
ILB Devin Bush. Bush looked unblockable on A-gap blitzes; it was pretty much an automatic sack when he rushed up the middle. He looked equally capable at both inside linebacker spots. "It's so nice when you have a young guy like that who can play two spots," said Don Brown. "You can ask some guys to do that and they'd look at you like 'are you kidding me?' But he handled it really with ease. He's a really good player."
VIPER Khaleke Hudson. The hype here isn't going to slow one bit after today. Hudson was everywhere on defense, looking like the heavy-hitting player we expected against the run and proving equally formidable in coverage, where he broke up a couple passes and nearly came up with an interception. As is his wont, he came inches away from a blocked punt, too.
CB Keith Washington. Washington held his own one-on-one against DPJ, limiting him to minimal YAC after a couple short completions. Noticeably bigger than last year, Washington also played well against the run, making at least one stop in the backfield after extending an outside run to the sideline.
S Jordan Glasgow. Surprise! A Glasgow might see the field. Josh Metellus was limited due to injury today, so Glasgow started at safety alongside Tyree Kinnel and looked very viable. He came up strong against the run, stringing out plays to the sideline and finishing them off, and he undercut a (terrible) pass from Speight for a 100-yard pick-six in the second half.
K Quinn Nordin. There shouldn't be a kicking controversy this year if today's admittedly limited sample was any indication. Nordin booted a 48-yard field goal that would've been good from 60+, an impressive kick even with the wind at his back, and he was also strong on kickoffs.