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The 2013 Dave Kragthorpe Classic was dominated by the defense, forcing three turnovers and six sacks in the nearly 100-play scrimmage on April 27 in Holt Arena.
The defense ‘won’ the scrimmage 37-27. Redshirt junior linebackers Jake Pele, Trevor Spence Keelan McCaffery and redshirt junior safety Cameron Gupton each had seven tackles to lead the Bengals. For the offense, redshirt junior quarterback Justin Arias was 22-32 passing with 199 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Redshirt freshman Broc Malcolm nabbed eight catches for 107 yards and one touchdown.
“It was a lot of fun,” Head Coach Mike Kramer said. “I think we see what’s happening is that we have a lot of young players who can make a lot of plays. I thought Arias played very well and our defense played well against the run. All-in-all, our good guys played good, and our young guys showed their potential.”
Scoring in the scrimmage awarded the defense three points for a three-and-out and two points for a stop (offensive scoring was standard). The defense had eight three-and-outs, keeping the offense from developing any consistency for the day. For the defense, redshirt freshman defensive back K.W. Williams and Spence each had interceptions. Williams also had one pass breakup. Spence’s pick from Arias closed out the afternoon. The six sacks came by committee for the Bengals.
After struggling defensively in the second scrimmage, Kramer was happy with the way his guys performed today.
“We played much better today. We didn’t panic. We played with a lot more calmness and a lot more intensity. (Redshirt junior defensive end) David Forester played outstanding as well as (junior linebacker) PJ Gramaud on the outside. We continue to wait for the development on the corner besides Gupton.”
Quarterbacks Arias and redshirt freshman Riley Sessions each had one touchdown and one interception. Sessions had 10 completions out of 18 attempts. Sessions connected with redshirt freshman receiver Kameron Taylor on an 80-yard touchdown pass. The very next series and play, Arias found Malcolm on a short pass near the sideline, who broke a tackle and sprinted to a 65-yard touchdown.
Senior wide receiver Cameron Richmond caught five balls for 43 yards. Redshirt sophomore tight end Tyler Graves had four catches for 44 yards.
Sophomore running back Braeden Mitchell ran hard for 69 yards on 13 rushes. He was followed by junior running back Aaron Prier, who had 48 yards and a touchdown on 12 rushes and one fumble. Sophomore running back Xavier Finney toted the ball 11 times for 36 yards. The three running backs combined for 148 yards rushing, averaging 4.25 yards per carry. Much credit was given to the offensive line after the scrimmage.
“The greatest growth I have seen in my time here has been the offensive line,” Kramer said. “We have a lot of young guys there, but I think they know what is expected of them.”
Senior kicker Brendon Garcia was 2-4 on field goals, making his kicks from 27 and 23 yards.