Blustery weather conditions didn’t affect the running game.
The Eastern Washington University offense, including junior running back Mario Brown, rushed for 97 yards to highlight a 45-play football scrimmage Saturday (April 13) at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.
Eastern’s offensive units finished with 223 yards of offense, with three touchdown drives all led by different quarterbacks. The highlight defensively was the No. 1 unit stopping the No. 1 offense on a pair of three-and-outs in the early stages of the scrimmage.
Brown, who was the starting running back for Eastern’s final two games of its National Championship season in 2010, had 44 rushing yards on nine carries and scored twice. Junior Quincy Forte added 37 yards on nine attempts, and redshirt freshman Jabari Wilson added four yards on two rushes.
Senior Demitrius Bronson is the returning starter but was held out of Saturday’s scrimmage. The depth at that position has enabled junior Jordan Talley to move from running back to linebacker. Brown redshirted last season and shared playing time in 2011 with Forte, Talley and Bronson.
“I am excited for Mario coming back, and I am excited for the backs as a whole,” said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin. “There is some new stuff for the backs too. They are getting used to seeing things, where things hit, and how things are run with certain terminology. Some of it is new for them. It is fun to see Mario back and healthy. We also have Quincy and Demitrius back, which allowed us to move a great football player like Jordan over to defense.”
After two-and-outs on his first two possessions, 2012 Freshman All-American quarterback Vernon Adams directed the offense on a six-play, 65-yard scoring drive. He completed a pair of passes to Cory Mitchell for 44 yards on the drive, and 3 yards to tight end Cody Humphrey for the touchdown.
Earlier, backup Anthony Vitto led a 10-play, 65-yard drive capped by a 1-yard scoring run by Brown, and redshirt freshman Jordan West directed a 12-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard score by Brown. The three quarterbacks combined to complete 12-of-22 passes for 126 yards and no interceptions.
“We were able to get (Vernon) in a rhythm with that score on the third series,” said Baldwin. “I am very pleased with his progress. Obviously, he is a different player, and he has a different mindset than he had last year. Anthony and Jordan are doing some good things and coming along with some stuff that is new. There are more things thrown on their plate than ever before.”
Senior wide receivers Ashton Clark and Daniel Johnson each caught three passes, and combined for 61 yards. Redshirt freshman Miquiyah Zamora led the defense with seven tackles.
“I thought the players turned it on considering the heavy wind and a little snow,” Baldwin added of the less-than-desirable weather conditions. “They did not just try and get through it. They may have made a lot of mistakes at times, but their attitude and mentality was to go out there and get something done every play.”