As spring practices came to an end, the Rice football team had their annual Blue-Gray scrimmage Friday night at Rice Stadium. The game allowed all players to get some in-game action prior to the offseason, but the focus was on the three quarterbacks competing for the starting job. The offense, which wore the blue uniforms, defeated the defense, who wore the gray uniforms, with a score of 47-25.
The scrimmage used a special scoring system that awarded points to each team for important plays. The offense received points for first downs, big running or passing gains and scores, while the defense received points for sacks, tackles for losses and takeaways.
In the passing game, redshirt freshman Sam Glaesmann led all quarterbacks with 95 passing yards with only three completions on five attempts. Glaesmann also threw Rice’s only two passing touchdowns of the game, a 39 yard pass to redshirt freshman receiver Aaron Cephus and a 15 yard strike to senior tight end Robby Wells III. Glaesmann also had a rushing touchdown in the final quarter of the game, when he scrambled into the endzone from 70 yards out.
While Glaesmann had the most scoring out of any quarterback on the night, sophomore quarterback Jackson Tyner was 6-15 for 63 yards and sophomore quarterback J.T. Granato was 6-10 for 60 yards. With senior quarterback Tyler Stehling graduating after this year, all eyes were on the quarterback play for the scrimmage, as next season’s starter has yet to be determined. According to head coach David Bailiff, the quarterbacks still have a lot of room for improvement heading into next season.
“Still we have to get somebody more consistent at quarterback, that we know we can rely on,” Bailiff said. “All quarterbacks made some big plays tonight and they all did some things we wish they could take back.”
The offense tallied 494 yards. In the run game, junior running back Samuel Stewart led all backs with 14 carries for 57 yards. Stewart was the leading rusher for the Owls last season with an average of 59.9 yards per game. After the game, Bailiff said he was impressed with the way the run game performed in the scrimmage.
“I thought [Stewart] made elite runs all spring,” Bailiff said. “I’m pleased with all of our running backs.”
With three senior receivers graduating this year, the Owls’ receiving corps will look for young talent to fill in the roster. Several receivers had big games in the spring scrimmage, headed by sophomore Kylen Granson who led the team with five catches for 84 yards.
On defense, junior defensive tackle Preston Gordon had a sack and a fumble recovery while junior cornerback Lawrence Cimino and freshman defensive lineman JaVante Hubbard each had a sack. Gordon led the Owls in sacks last year with 3.5 and will be a returning starter on the defensive line.
Heading into next year, the Owls will look to improve on their disappointing 3-9 season last year. They will kick off the season against Stanford University in Sydney, Australia next August, with the game to be broadcast on ESPN.