Roundtable: Who was the top performer in the Red & White Game?
At the football team’s annual Red & White Game Saturday, the Red team triumphed by a score of 31-17. Everyone from the veteran starters to the fourth stringers saw playing time.
The Cougar published a roundtable on April 4 with predictions about the top performer going into the game. Here are the thoughts of those writers following the match.
Senior staff writer Trenton Whiting
The most important takeaway from this spring game, in which the offense dominated, is the presence and success of the deep ball. Because of this, junior wide receiver Terry Mark had the best spring game.
Mark gets the edge over junior wide receiver Courtney Lark because Lark will likely be the No. 1 receiver option for junior quarterback D’Eriq King in the upcoming season. Mark proved to King and the coaching staff he can produce in the second spot.
Many offenses struggle to find much passing production outside of their first options, but with Mark’s performance the coaches should have more confidence in using him often.
His performance is also admirable due to the importance of passing plays. Teams can grind out yardage in a low-scoring affair, but having one or two big plays over the top opens up the rest of the offense. With two viable vertical threats taking passes from King, the offense should function at an increased level in the 2018 season.
Staff writer Christopher McGehee
After King’s standout QB performance in the annual Red & White spring game, Cougar fans must be excited to know he will be the man behind center this season.
In limited snaps, King flashed his potential by throwing two touchdown passes of 58 and 60 yard to junior receivers Mark and Lark, respectively.
Always striving to keep producing, King had three other passes that all went for at least 30 yards, showing that head coach Major Applewhite will entrust King to take deep shots throughout the season.
During plays in which the pocket broke down, King used his footwork and elusiveness to evade defenders that were collapsing in on him and proceeded to find open receivers, a la Greg Ward circa 2016. After an all-around performance, King showed that he is already in mid-season form.
Staff writer Jackson Gatlin
While the defense on display was nothing to write home about, the offense at the annual Red & White Game was explosive to say the least. Junior running back Mulbah Car stole the show with his impressive running game.
Car’s ability to run should come as no surprise to fans. He ran for 372 yards last season in just nine games, claiming second on the team in rushing yards.
At the Red and White Game, Car ran for a total of 72 yards on 10 attempts and finished with a team-leading two rushing touchdowns.
Both of Car’s rushing touchdowns came in the second half of play, specifically the third quarter. The first touchdown carry was a short five-yard outside run while the second he ran in from about 11 yards.
The Red team overcame a 17-point deficit at the half in large part due to Car’s two touchdowns, coming back to win the game against the White team 31-17.
Car is a key part of the offense, as a strong running game will keep defenses honest and prevent opposing teams from loading up on junior quarterback D’Eriq King.
The running game, and by extension Car, should play a vital role in the success of the Cougars’ offense in the upcoming 2018 season.