In the opening weeks of training camp, the defense usually has a distinct advantage over the offense.
So, it certainly wasn’t a huge surprise that the defense turned in a dominant performance during the Colonels’ first intra-squad scrimmage of the preseason Saturday at Roy Kidd Stadium.
EKU’s offense scored only two touchdowns — highlighted by a long run from redshirt freshman Jared Sanders — and also had a handful of turnovers.
“If the offense looks good at all (this early), that means they are really humming,” EKU coach Dean Hood said. “We’ve done some banging, we’ve been live, but we hadn’t gone full tilt. The running backs, that’s the first time they’ve been hit like that.”
The Colonels return seven starters on defense, highlighted by four preseason All-OVC selections — Ichiro Vance, Brandon Stanley, Shawn Shupperd and Anthony Brown.
On offense, EKU will have new starters at running back, quarterback, wide receiver and on the O-line this year.
Even with lots of somewhat inexperienced players on the field, their were some highlights for the offense.
Junior quarterback Jared McClain rushed for a short touchdown early in the first half. Andrew Lloyd connected on a lengthy field goal later in the half and McClain hit receiver Jeff Glover on a 50-yard pass.
In the second half, Sanders got loose on a 75-yard touchdown run.
The offense had some mistakes as well.
Redshirt freshman running back J.J. Jude fumbled on the goal line trying to score just before halftime.
EKU quarterbacks were picked off several times in the second half.
“It’ll come,” Hood said of the Colonels’ offense. “It’s practice No. 9. This is just our first camp scrimmage.”
Senior safety Christian Albertson had several big defensive plays. The cornerback batted down a couple of passes, then in the first half he intercepted a pass from Kyle Romano.
“He’s a senior. He’s one of those guys you fully expect to relish in every second of their senior year and come up big,” Hood said of Albertson.
The scrimmage featured a couple of scary moments as well.
Senior tight end Matt Lengel took a hard hit down low and had to leave the game. He is still recovering from a knee injury that forced him to miss almost all of last season.
Just after halftime, senior wide receiver Ben De La Cruz was on the receiving end of big hit. The Deltona, Fla., native stayed on the turf for more than 15 minutes before he fitted with a neck brace and taken by ambulance to Baptist Health.
“He got the wind knocked out of him, but for precautionary reasons we decided to go ahead and take him (to the hospital),” Hood said. “He seemed to have feeling everywhere, but he had some neck in his pain.”