The 2016 edition of NC State’s Kay Yow Spring Game featured more offense than last season’s, at least for the red team. The red team (starters) rolled over the white team as you probably expected, winning 47-0.
State has plenty of questions on offense heading in the season, one of which is the quarterback spot. Jalan McClendon and Jakobi Meyers split time behind the center for the red team. This was the first real action we got to see from Jakobi Meyers and he was nothing short of impressive. Meyers ran all over the field and his ability to elude pressure is reminiscent of Russell Wilson. He carried the ball 10 times for 47 yards and a touchdown, but could have doubled that total if the play wasn’t blown dead as soon as someone touched him.
He made some mistakes in the passing game, including missing an easy screen pass behind the receiver which resulted in a big loss, but flashed plenty of potential in there as well. He tossed a beautiful touchdown pass over the middle to tight end Clark Eyers that was the game’s last score. His final line was 12-20 for 117 yards and a TD.
McClendon was 13-18 for 120 yards and a touchdown. He didn’t have a particularly accurate day throwing downfield, but seemed to exhibit pretty good decision making.
It’s important to not jump to conclusions after one scrimmage, but it would appear the starting quarterback spot is more wide open that it has ever been. The gap in the passing ability between Meyers and McClendon was not nearly as large as anticipated today, and you might even be able to argue that Meyers looked better. He seemed to grow more confident as the game went on. That combined with the other tools Meyers showcased made him the better quarterback on the field today.
Neither Dayes, Samuels, nor Gallaspy played at the running back spot. Nyheim Hines, Johnny Frasier, and Brady Bodine got the majority of the carries out of the backfield. Hines led all rushers with 72 yards on 9 carries, including a 42 yarder he busted early on in the game. Frasier could be a load this year and is a difficult man to bring down, as shown by a brutal stiff-arm on his first carry and a 30-something yard touchdown run in which he broke approximately 45 tackles. They weren’t necessarily the best tackles, but still.
Trowell and Louis were the top receivers with 6 and 5 catches respectively. The hope is that both can step into a bigger role at the receiver spot this season. Cherry had 3 catches and made a nice play on the opening drive to pull in not-so-well thrown deep ball for the game’s longest completion of 34 yards. Top returning receiver Jumichael Ramos did not play.
The red team’s defense dominated the white team. Emmanuel Olenga led the team in tackles for loss with two of the nine. They forced four turnovers including an interception from each of the three white team quarterbacks.
- Mike Stevens was called for a targeting and the official announced that he had been disqualified. An ejection in the spring game has got to be one of the dumbest things to ever happen in Carter-Finley Stadium. Stevens ended up staying in the game, but the whole thing was just goofy. Also the hit was not even close to targeting.
- The makeshift starting offensive line featured McGirt and Jones at tackle, Culler and Kennedy at guard, and Bradbury snapping the ball. This along with quarterback and receiver will be the most intriguing position battles to watch.
- Jonathon Alston, who had converted to a defensive back earlier this spring, spent a lot of time on the field as a cornerback for the white team. Vernon Grier had also reportedly moved to DB from WR but he played receiver today for the white team.
- Connor Haskins made all his extra points and hit a 42 yard field goal. He did not miss a kick although the field goal seemed like it was kind of low and could have been blocked.