The conclusion of spring football culminated with the annual spring game and it was the offense who prevailed, defeating the defense 18-13 after a late second half rally.
“This is a day that I was very proud of,” FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger said. “I thought our entire football team really came after it from a physical standpoint with a lot of big hits and a lot of good tackling and pursuit. The offense was blocking downfield and, with the help of a couple of runners who ran hard, made it look like a real football game.”
The defense, who has thrived off forcing turnovers this spring, was able to get their hands on some balls but they couldn’t hold on for the interceptions.
That proved to be the deciding factor for the game.
After struggling to get their run game going in the first half, the Owls offense, led by running backs Damian Fortner and Travis Jones, rallied back and the Owls offense stole victory away from the defense on the final play for the second straight scrimmage.
Fortner, who had two touchdowns on the afternoon, ran up the middle for three yards to give the FAU offense victory.
“We’ve still got to get better at it,” strong safety Cortez Ash said. “We’re still messing up with some parts but we’ll work harder at it. It was a great overall spring. We all got better in something.”
But the big story of the afternoon happened before halftime, though wasn’t addressed until the conclusion of the scrimmage.
Graham Wilbert, a presumed front runner in the quarterback derby with David Kooi, sustained an injury to his throwing hand after his hand smacked into the hand of defender David Hinds during his follow-through. Wilbert spent the rest of practice as a spectator on the sidelines.
â€œI lost reps today which I am pretty bummed about,â€ Wilbert said. â€œI donâ€™t like any setbacks and I wonâ€™t be able to workout orÂ throw for a while, but weâ€™ll see what happens.â€
Coach Howard Schnellenberger said that the quarterback competition is as unclear as ever with Wilbert’s setback. But he doesn’t want to talk about that until training camp.
Interesting to note, Schenellenberger hinted that perhaps the quarterback derby might turn into a three-man race come training camp, between Kooi, Wilbert and Nick Bracewell.
With Wilbert’s absence in the second half, Bracewell saw an increased share of reps and took advantage of it. Schnellenberger sees something in the redshirt freshman and perhaps what was thought to be a two-man race between Kooi and Wilbert might turn out to be less than so.
Let the speculation begin.
>>Click the jump for statistics from Saturday’s scrimmage.
Offense 18, Defense 13
OFF – Cross 34-yard pass from Kooi
OFF – Fortner 7-yard run
OFF – Fortner 3-yard run
Kooi 12-20-148-0 1 TD