MUNCIE, Ind. - Pete Lembo wrapped up his first Ball State Spring Practice as the Cardinals head football coach Saturday at Scheumann Stadium as the Red Team claimed a 51-38 victory over the White Team.
"We wanted to get out here in front of a nice crowd and cut the kids loose and see who could step up and make plays under pressure," Lembo says. "It is always a little bit different when you get into a full fledge scrimmage situation versus the different moving parts of a practice. It will be a great evaluator for our staff to be able to go back and look at the film from today's game."
Lembo reached into the Cardinals' football history for the Spring Game and selected former Ball State head football coaches Bill Lynch and Paul Schudel as honorary coaches. Lynch tutored the offense while Schudel helped out the defense.
Quarterback Kelly Page connected on a 41-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Briggs Orsbon to give the offense the 10-9 edge over the defense early in the contest. In the Red Team's next offensive drive quarterback Keith Wenning had an eight-yard TD run. The touchdown put the Red Team up 20-9 over the White Team.
"Both the quarterbacks did some good things and they both struggled at times," Lembo says. "We are not operating as fast as I would like to yet. It is up to them to get us moving a little bit faster. We were a little bit inconsistent at times but they are both terrific kids and I feel really good that they are going to continue to work hard at getting better."
Quintin Cooper ran back a 28-yard touchdown interception to tie the game 23-23 for the defense in the second quarter. The defense scored by forcing a three-and-out, to take the 26-23 lead at the end to close out the quarter.
Steven Schott kicked a 49-yard field goal in the third quarter to give the offense the 29-27 edge over the defense.
A combination of first downs from offense and three-and-outs from the defense knotted the game 32-32 in the fourth quarter.
Wenning completed a 49-yard pass to Briggs Orsbon to move the Red Team to the 3-yard line and bring the point total to Red 35, White 34. Wenning 's three-yard TD run gave the Red Team the 41-35 edge in the fourth quarter.
Page completed a 16-yard pass to Ryan Summers for a first down late in the game and the Red Team took a 43-36 lead in the game. Page ran for 15 yards and a first down in the final stanza to give his Red Team a 44-37 advantage, and his 13-yard completion to Orsbon for another Ball State first down gave the Red Team a 45-37 lead.
The Cardinals used a unique scoring system to run the Spring Game. The offense was awarded one point for a first down, six points for a touchdown, one point for an extra point, three points for a field goal and two points for a two-point conversion. The defense was awarded one point for stopping a drive, three points for a three and out, three points for a takeaway, seven points for a defensive touchdown and two points for a safety.
"We tried to put the moving parts of a practice together and be able to have some film to evaluate," Lembo says. "We can go back and see what we are doing well and what we can improve upon in terms of what we installed this spring. Today was also a chance for some guys who were hurt a little this spring to come out and get one last final chance to get some snaps under their belt before we transition back into the offseason."
Ball State will open the 2011 season Sat., Sept. 3 vs. Indiana at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind. The Cardinals will host Buffalo at Scheumann Stadium Sept. 17 and Army Sept. 24. Oct. 8 vs. Temple is Ball State's Homecoming Game, while Oct. 22 vs. Central Michigan and Nov. 25 vs. Toledo will round out the Cardinals home schedule.