Citadel coach Kevin Higgins got almost everything he wanted out of Saturday’s spring football game: A beautiful day, a competitive contest and no major injuries.
Quarterback Aaron Miller passed for two touchdowns and ran for a third score to pace the White team to a 21-20 win over the Blue before several hundred fans at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
“It was a great first half for us,” Higgins said. “It looked like a real football game.”
That’s a feat in itself given that the squad was divided into two teams via a draft held Thursday, and that several starters — fullback Darien Robinson, guard Keith Carter and defensive tackle Cam Mobley — were held out with injuries.
Starting quarterback Ben Dupree and his backup, Miller, are both known quantities from last year’s 7-4 season and looked like the veterans they are. Dupree ran nine times for 42 yards and hit 3 of 8 passes. He did have two passes intercepted, one on a ball that skipped through a receiver’s hands, and another on a deep pass picked off by cornerback Brandon McCladdie.
Dupree also caught punts throughout the spring game as he looks to add punt return duties to his job description next season.
Miller carried seven times for 51 yards and, after a slow start throwing the ball, hit 4 of 14 passes, including a 6-yard TD pass to Matt Thompson. The best pass of the day was Miller’s bullet to Dalton Trevino on a seam route that went for a 51-yard score.
Trevino, coming off offseason knee surgery, finished with 41 yards on four carries and 71 yards on three catches.
Redshirt freshman Trey White, making a bid for playing time as the third QB, played for both teams and ran for 85 yards on 15 carries, and hit 3 of 5 passes for 44 yards. He was the QB as the White team iced the game with a clinching drive, throwing a couple of sideline routes to Julian Walker.
“Trey has had a really good camp for us,” Higgins said. “He made some big throws on that last drive.”
Two area of concern during spring practice have been the center position with the loss of All-American Mike Sellers and punter, where all-SoCon pick Cass Couey is hoping for a shot with an NFL team.
Rising sophomore Sam Frye and redshirt freshman Harrison Davis handled the center duties without mishap during the spring game.
“Sam did a nice job,” Higgins said. “He’s undersized (5-11, 270), but he’s such a fighter and scrapper. He held his own there, and that was good to see.”
Punter was a different story, as both Austin Jordan and Eric Goins struggled on a breezy day.
“We’ve got a long way to go there,” Higgins said. “We’ve got two young guys who are still learning steps, learning mechanics, how to handle wind and pressure and all that stuff.”
On defense, linebacker James Riley picked up a fumble and ran 37 yards for a TD, and linebacker Preston Durham picked off a pass.
Blue — Vinny Miller 1 run (kick good)
Blue — Trey White 1 run (kick good)
White — Matt Thompson 6 pass from Aaron Miller (kick good)
White — Aaron Miller 3 run (kick good)
White — Dalton Trevino 51 pass from Aaron Miller (kick good)
Blue — James Riley 37 fumble return (kick failed)
Blue: Middleton 7-73, Dupree 9-42, Stenson 5-9, V. Miller 9-34; White: Trevino 4-44, A. Miller 7-51. Both: T. White 15-85.
Blue: Dupree 3-8, 2 INT. White: A. Miller 4-14-76. Both: T. White 3-5-44.
Blue: Eakins 2-11. White: Trevino 3-71, Walker 3-27.