In the ongoing quarterback battle, Chris Relf took a clear lead in today's annual Maroon-White spring game at Davis Wade Stadium. In front of 34,127 fans, the fourth-year junior completed 13 of 24 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Maroon to a 26-13 victory over the White.
Relf's main competition, redshirt freshman Tyler Russell, struggled and was 12 of 27 for 125 yards and two interceptions.
"There's so long before we play," coach Dan Mullen said. "I think what you saw today is a guy that's been in a game situation in front of a big crowd, playing in this type of atmosphere before, and a guy that hadn't."
The running backs ran well for the Maroon. Juco transfer Vick Ballard gained a game-high 73 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries, while redshirt freshman Montrell Conner had 60 yards on nine totes.
"I think we found some depth in those guys right there," Mullen said. "Montrell, the injury set him back a little bit, he was great the last couple of days and even today to get out here and run the ball and do some different things."
As for receiving, tight end Marcus Green made five catches for 56 yards and a TD, while Brandon Heavens had four catches for 63 yards and a score.
The Maroon team dominated from the outset. After taking a 5-3 lead in a "bullring" session prior to open-field play, the Maroon went up 12-3 on Relf's 20-yard scoring toss to Heavens. That lead was pushed to 19-3 on Ballard's 1-yard run, and that's where it stood at halftime.
Relf hit Green for a 15-yard score late in the third quarter. The White squad finally found the end zone when LaDarius Perkins scampered in from 8 yards late in the fourth.
The Maroon squad gained 356 total yards to the White's 157 yards.
Mullen said he kept things simple for the defenses.
"We kept it a little simple today for them and just let them play and execute. We played a lot of players; I think just about everybody on the roster got in the game today. And that's really what this is about."
Read more in tomorrow's Daily Journal.