When the Eastern Washington University football team walked off Roos Field on Friday after its second spring scrimmage, there was a clear victor: the defense.
Defensive back T.J. Lee III helped spark the impressive defensive performance by knocking down two passes and coming up with one of quarterback Anthony Vitto’s three interceptions. The defense broke up seven passes as Vitto and Vernon Adams were a combined 15-of-31 passing for 107 yards.
Linebacker Grant Williams led the defense in tackles for the second straight scrimmage, finishing with seven total tackles, including a half-sack. Linebacker Cody McCarthy, who saw significant action as a true freshman in 2011, was second on the team with five tackles, including a half-sack.
Shaquille Hill, McKenzie Murphy, Jordan Tonani and Andru Pulu had four tackles each.
“I know the defense didn’t feel very good about some missed tackles and some of the things that happened in the first scrimmage,” said head coach Beau Baldwin. “Like I said, whenever one side is a little frustrated, sometimes that’s a good thing because that means that the other side performed pretty well. There was good energy. I was able to go back and forth from sideline to sideline to get a feel where guys were energy-wise.”
However, the defense would clamp down again, leaving the offense without a score for six consecutive possessions. Eventually, Vitto found Nicholas Edwards in for a 25-yard TD strike. On the ensuing drive, Adams found Cory Mitchell in the end zone for a 4-yard score.
“It is hard to say if our slow start was due to struggling offense or good defense,” said Baldwin. “You can’t really count the first two possessions because we stopped our offense after two first downs. But don’t get me wrong -- at the end of the day we have to find a way to get into the end zone more.”
Vitto finished the day 3-of-11 for 45 yards with one touchdown. Adams finished 12-of-20 for 62 yards and a touchdown, and was able to show off his athleticism by rushing five times for 28 yards.
Jordan Talley ran the ball seven times for 26 yards, and also had two receptions for 20 more yards. His 46 all-purpose yards were a team high. Quincy Forte finished with 16 yards on nine carries.
Eastern will scrimmage next Saturday (April 21) at approximately 10:30 a.m. at Roos Field before hosting the Red-White Game on Saturday, April 28 at 2 p.m.
Kevin Miller 22-yard field goal
Greg Herd 25-yard run (Pavel kick is good)
Nicholas Edwards 25-yard pass from Anthony Vitto. (Vitto pass to Herd is good)
Cory Mitchell 4-yard pass from Vernon Adams. (Adams rush no good)
Passing: Anthony Vitto 3-11-3 45, Vernon Adams 12-20-0 62.
Rushing: Jordan Talley 7-26, Quincy Forte 4-16, Vernon Adams 5-28.
Receiving: Nicholas Edwards 1-25, Jordan Talley 2-20, Ashton Clark 2-18, Tyler Hart 3-17, Terry Jackson 1-14, Cory Mitchell 2-6, Daniel Johnson 1-6, Forte 2-(-11).
Leading Tacklers: Grant Williams 6, Cody McCarthy 5, Shaquille Hill 4, McKenzie Murphy 4, Jordan Tonani 4, Andru Pulu 4, Chase King 3, George Williams 3, Will Katoa 3.
Interceptions: T.J. Lee III 1, Tyler Washburn 1, Chandler Gayton 1.
Passes Broken Up: T.J. Lee III 2, Shane Stagg 1, George Williams 1, Evan Cook 1, Dylan Zylstra 1, Ronnie Hamlin 1/2, Paul Ena 1/2.
Sacks: Cody McCarthy 1/2, Grant Williams 1/2.