OFFENSE AND DEFENSE BOTH FIND THE END ZONE IN GREEN-GOLD GAME
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento State head football coach Marshall Sperbeck left Saturday's Green-Gold Game with a sense of accomplishment. The team closed out its spring season in front of several hundred fans at the practice field with big plays on both offense and defense and a focus on the upcoming season.
"Overall we got a lot out of (spring ball)," Sperbeck said. "I don't want to get too optimistic or excited but we are heading in the right direction."
The defense made the first statement of the game, holding the offense without a first down on its first three series. Nate Jones then intercepted a Pete Murdaca pass and returned it 40 yards up the right sideline for the first score of the day.
The touchdown appeared to spark the offense which responded with two long drives. The latter drive was capped by a 6-yard pass from McLeod Bethel-Thompson to Ron Richardson for a touchdown.
The offense tacked on its second touchdown during the 2-minute drill. The offense began the drive on its own 40-yard line and was aided by a 15-yard reception from Brett Willis and a 14-yard catch by Dylan Lane. Facing 4th-and-9 from the defense's 30, Bethel-Thomspon split the secondary to find Richardson just outside the end zone. The senior receiver juggled the ball several times before diving in the back of the end zone and coming down with the ball for his second touchdown of the scrimmage.
Richardson led all receivers four catches for 49 yards while Larson (13 yards) and Willis (44) each had three catches. Bethel-Thomspon split time at QB with Murdaca and Dominic Carmazzi. Bethel-Thompson was 9-of-19 for 116 yards and two scores to lead the trio.
Defensively, the unit combined for four tackles-for-loss on 26 running plays and also stopped five plays for no gain. Along with Jones' interception return, JC transfer Keith Yamamoto was credited with a pick after ripping the ball out of Salesi Maumau's hands and sprinting up the field before being brought down inside the 10.
"Our defense really got to the ball quick and made some nice interceptions," Sperbeck said. "Our speed and athleticism has really improved and you are starting to see what they can do. We are doing a lot of the same things (as in past seasons) but are just more aggressive."
Several projected starters were held out the scrimmage for precautionary reasons. That group included running back Bryan Hilliard, receiver Chase Deadder, safety Deionte Gordon, defensive end Avery White and offensive tackle Vince Weaver.
The scrimmage was the final team workout until the beginning of training camp in early August. Sacramento State begins its 2010 season at Stanford on Sept. 4.
RUSHING: McCowan 14-39; Croxdale 8-24; Murdaca 2-7; Carmazzi 1-4; Bethel-Thompson 1-2.
PASSING: Bethel-Thompson 9-19-0-119-2; Murdaca 4-9-2-32-0; Carmazzi 1-5-0-4-0.
RECEIVING: Richardson 4-49, 2 TD; Willis 3-44; Larson 3-13; Lane 2-23; Hendershott 1-14; Maciel 1-9.