OXFORD – A spring football game can often turn unknowns into stars, but it was the big names that turned in big performances as Ole Miss got 55 points from its offense on Saturday in the Grove Bowl.
An announced crowd of 28,357 at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium watched quarterback Jevan Snead complete 11-of-15 passes for 254 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions.
Snead lifted the Blue team, comprised mostly of the offensive and defensive first-team players to a 55-28 win over the Red team. In a game that featured eight-minute quarters, the reserves were awarded seven points at the end of each quarter.
Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt said he wanted the teams divided that way to remain consistent with players going against the players they’d gone against most in spring practice.
Certain players competed with both squads in an effort to get snaps with the starters.
Snead, his backups Billy Tapp and Nathan Stanley and wide receiver Dexter McCluster were wearing white “no-contact” jerseys.
“We’re not that good, not 55 points,” Nutt conceded. “but you could see the execution, the route running, the getting in and out of the huddle. All that was good.”
Snead was pretty good regardless of the level of competition, after he overcame a couple of bad passes at the beginning.
His second touchdown pass covered 20 yards to Dexter McCluster. It was thrown over the outside shoulder of cornerback Demareo Marr, and the 5-foot-10 McCluster leaped to make the grab against the 6-2 defender.
Before that Snead was right on the money with a fade pass to Markeith Summers for a 43-yard gain.
On the first play of the third quarter, it was Snead and Summers again as Snead finished his day with a 70-yard touchdown pass to Summers, who got behind – way behind – defensive back Zane Allcorn.
“A lot of it just has to do with getting in that groove and getting some momentum going,” Snead said. “I think the offense did a good job of that today.”
It wasn’t always the case this spring when the offense faced the first-team defense, but Snead believes he’s reached goals of ball-protection and reading defenses better.
“Those are the big things I’ve been working on. There are always some plays I’d like to have back, but overall I’d say I had a pretty good spring.”
“He’s so much different now. He has real command in the huddle. He’s just gotten a lot better after a year in the play book, and he threw the ball real well today,” Nutt said.
Reserve receiver Jacarious Lucas caught touchdown passes of 19 yards from Billy Tapp and 50 yards from Nathan Stanley.
Neither of Snead’s two backups gained the upper hand for the No. 2 spot, and that race will continue into August practice, Nutt said.
Shay Hodge also had a 12-yard touchdown catch.
Defensively, the starters weren’t threatened by the reserves, who were quarterbacked by Tapp, Stanley and walk-on freshman Clayton Moore.
Middle linebacker Jason Jones, a redshirt freshman running second to Jonathan Cornell, led the way with six tackles and a sack.
Reserve defensive end Antonio Turner had two sacks.
“We had some good things happen this spring, but we’ve got to get better, and we’ve got to create depth in the offensive line,” Nutt said.
Parrish Alford/Daily Journal