The Red Raiders closed out spring ball Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium with the annual Red and Black game. The defense won 40-27 using a scoring system that awarded points for various plays such as interceptions, forced fumbles and sacks. The offense played to a traditional scoring method. Here are the takeaways from last Saturday.
This defense might be the best since the Ruffin McNeill era. The 806D put up 40 points in the scrimmage. They forced five three and outs, three sacks, two fumbles and an interception. The biggest improvement came in the secondary. Octavious Morgan recorded the lone interception on an overthrown pass by Duffey. Thomas Leggett, a redshirt juco transfer, forced a fumble from Tre King. The secondary was probably the biggest weak spot of Gibb’s defense last year and the improvements this offseason could be the difference between a good defense next season vs having a great one.
The signal callers
The quarterbacks showed improvement from the Frisco scrimmage. McClane Carter moved the ball very effectively, going 11-19 for 139 yards with no interceptions and a 28 yard touchdown pass to De’Quan Bowman. Duffey struggled early on but finished 11-15 for 89 yards and an interception made off a rookie mistake. While no one has emerged as a clear starter, Duffey and Carter appear to have pulled away from Alan Bowman, who went 7-12 for 76 yards on Saturday. If I was going to name a starter based on this scrimmage, I’d say Carter earned the starting spot, but if Duffey has a productive summer, I wouldn't be surprised if we see number seven get the snaps on September 1st in Houston.
The receivers clearly have the most to work on after multiple drops in the endzone killed potential touchdown drives. Jo-jo Robinson was the leading receiver with six catches for 79 yards. Donta Thompson was right behind with four catches for 36 yards. De’Quan Bowman had the only touchdown catch of the night. It will be interesting to see who ends up starting in September. This group is very young, but has a ton of depth. Whoever wins the starting role will have had to beat a lot of stiff competition and if someone underperforms, Kingsbury will have plenty of options available to plug in throughout the season.
The Red Raiders will kick-off in Houston at NRG Stadium against the Ole Miss Rebels on September 1st in the Advocare Texas Kickoff game. It will be the first time these two teams have met since the 2009 Cotton Bowl when Ole Miss upset Texas Tech 47-34.