Blue tops Red, 17-7, in Ole Miss Rebels’ Grove Bowl
Ole Miss concluded its 2015 spring training with the Regions Bank Grove Bowl Saturday afternoon in Oxford. The Blue team defeated the Red 17-7 behind touchdown passes from quarterback Chad Kelly and running back Jaylen Walton.
Afterwards, head coach Hugh Freeze assessed the game and spring practices: “We had a good spring. We battled through being short-handed at some spots. We had to fight through that. We got through today’s game with the offensive line position.”
On the opening drive of the scrimmage, Chad Kelly led the Blue team on a scoring drive that culminated with a 43-yard touchdown pass from Kelly to junior tight end Taz Zettergren.
The next score for the Blue team came on a 28-yard field goal by sophomore Andy Pappanastos that followed a drive coordinated by sophomore QB DeVante Kincade.
Kincade completed a 21-yard strike to Damore’ea Stringfellow and later gained 12 yards on a quarterback keeper that set up the Pappanastos field goal to give the Blue team a 10-0 lead in the second quarter.
The Blue Rebels scored again in the third quarter following the interception by sophomore linebacker Ray Ray Smith of a Ryan Buchanan pass. Following the turnover, the Blue team converted on some trickery with Jaylen Walton completing a 66-yard halfback pass for a touchdown to Stringfellow. that put the Blue up 17-0.
In the fourth quarter, the Red team got on the board with a Eugene Brazley five-yard touchdown run. On the drive, RB Jordan Wilkins had a strong 28-yard run to help set up the TD.
Chad Kelly: 9-of-19 for 104 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT
DeVante Kincade: 9-of-18 for 93 yards; 10 carries for 50 yards rushing
Ryan Buchanan: 5-of-16 for 49 yards, 1 INT
Coach Freeze felt the overall quarterback play was solid and offers a lot of possibilities for the future: “The quarterback play was good,” he said. “But then you missed a couple of touchdowns on plays you have to hit. Our kids know that and they get that. I saw some positives from all three that we can build upon going into the offseason.”
Running Backs and Wide Receivers
Jordan Wilkins finished with 62 yards on six carries to lead all players, while Brazley rushed for 44 yards on 10 carries. Rebels got their first look at redshirt freshman Akeem Judd who notched 24 yards on five carries for the Blue Rebels.
Stringfellow hauled in three catches for 98 yards to lead all players, while junior wide receiver Derrick Jones led the Red team with three catches for 35 yards.
Land Shark Defense
Red team linebacker Terry Caldwell led his team with 5 total tackles. Kendarius Webster had three pass break-ups on the day. Tee Shepard had four tackles and one interception, while Channing Ward notched 4 tackles, including 2 tackles for loss and one sack.
For the Blue team, DeMarquis Gates led in total tackles with five. Issac Gross and Fadol Brown also had a strong day defensively for the Blue team, with Gross tallying 2.0 tackles for loss and 2 sacks and Brown recording 2.0 tackles for loss and one sack.
Freeze’s final take on spring
Coach Freeze was pleased with his team’s performance:
“All in all, I am excited about where we are. I think we have the chance to be a good football team. Like everything else, this league is so difficult and so evenly matched that you have to make the most of your time between now and the next opportunity you have to be a team.”
Following the game, quarterback Ryan Buchanan spoke with the media and gave his assessment of spring practices.
(Video taken by Joel Jackson, The Rebel Walk.)
Ole Miss opens the 2015 season Sept. 5 at home against Tennessee-Martin.