JONESBORO, AR (ASU) – The Arkansas State football team held its annual spring game Friday night at Centennial Bank Stadium, and "Coach Experience" winner Angie Gallaher led the Red Wolves' offense to a 55-47 victory over the defense using a special scoring system put in place by the coaching staff.
Gallaher was introduced as the offense's head coach for the spring game at an 11 a.m. press conference today in Jonesboro. As part of the promotion, she chose Meredith Poland to act as the head coach on the opposite sideline. Both Gallaher and Poland communicated with the coaching staff on the headset throughout the entire game, while also giving their team's pregame and halftime speeches.
"We had good energy, a great crowd, and I think the fans had a good time before, during and after the game," said A-State head coach Blake Anderson. "I hope that both our coaches had a good time, and I think they did. Really, I thought it was a good night that was great for the community."
The offense piled up 630 yards total offense, including 406 passing and 224 rushing yards, and scored eight touchdowns. The defense earned points during the contest for forcing multiple 3-and-outs, collecting two turnovers and scoring one touchdown. While it didn't gain points for sacks or tackles for loss, the defense finished with seven and 14, respectively.
The defense scored first and held the lead throughout the first half, putting its initial points on the board for back-to-back 3-and-outs to start the contest. An interception return for a touchdown by senior cornerback Rocky Hayes helped the defense build a 37-21 lead by the end of the first quarter, but it clung to just a 44-42 halftime advantage.
"We were able to accomplish what we wanted tonight, and I think we came out of it fairly healthy," said Anderson. "I thought early the defense was going to run away with it. ?The offense gave up two turnovers and there was a 21-point swing with the way the scoring system was set up, and that put the offense way behind in terms of how the game was going. ?It was good to see the offense battle back, get a couple of scores and make it a close game at halftime. ?There were some big plays on both side of the ball, though, and we saw some good things from both units."
The offense took its first lead on a DeKeathan Williams 22-yard touchdown run early in the third quarter, pulling ahead 48-47. ?Starting with Williams' score, the offense was responsible for the scrimmage's final 13 points.
Sophomore Cameron Birse and redshirt freshman James Tabary alternated at quarterback, finishing with a combined three touchdown passes. Birse hit 11-of-21 pass attempts for 199 yards and a touchdown, which was a 65-yard completion to senior wideout Tres Houston that was the longest play of the day. Tabary went 15-of-21 passing for 183 yards with touchdown passes to receiver Dijon?Paschal and running back Johnston White.
Twelve different players had at least one rushing attempt, led by running back Logan Moragne with a game-high 78 yards and one touchdown. Michael Gordon followed with 64 yards and a score, while Katon?Hill and Terrance Hollingsworth also had one rushing touchdown. Receiver Sterling Stowers hauled in a game-high five passes, while Houston was responsible for a team-best 103 receiving yards.
Defensively, linebacker Austin Copeland recorded a game-high nine tackles and also finished with the squad's only fumble recovery. Six different players combined to record seven sacks, including defensive lineman Chase Robinson with a team-high two. Additionally, 14 players combined to post 14 tackles loss for loss.