FOOTBALL: Spring game features quarterback battle

Wenning starts, but Page quickly takes over in second series

Ball State football fans finally got their first look of coach Pete Lembo's team up close in the annual Cardinal and White Spring Game Saturday afternoon.

Lembo got to show off his brand of offense in front of a crowd that included former Ball State coach Brady Hoke and former Ball State quarterback Nate Davis.

The Red team, who was on offense the entire scrimmage, defeated the White team 51-38. 

"We wanted to get out here in front of a nice crowd, cut the kids loose and see who could step up and make plays under pressure," Lembo said. "It's always a little bit different when you get into a scrimmage situation versus the different moving parts of a practice. We tried to be as hands off as could be and let the guys go out and play."

He said the spring game was also an opportunity for players who had picked up injuries during spring practices to get snaps in before the offseason.

Freshman quarterback Keith Wenning was the first to take snaps with the first team offense, but he was forced into a three-and-out, giving the White team a 3-0 lead.

Sophomore quarterback Kelly Page came on for the next series and the defense again forced another three-and-out.

The first offensive touchdown came when Page threw a 41-yard pass to junior receiver Briggs Orsbon, giving the Red team a 10-9 lead. Page's touchdown pass was the only passing touchdown of the scrimmage.

Wenning scored two rushing touchdowns on the game, the first coming from 8-yards out in the series following Page's touchdown pass.

His second rushing touchdown came in the fourth quarter from 3-yards out, after he threw a 49-yard pass to Orsbon.

Lembo said he liked what he saw in his quarterbacks, but also saw room for improvement. 

"They both did some good things but they both struggled at times," he said. "Were not operating as fast as I would like to yet. We're taking sacks at some opportunities where we can get rid of the ball."

On several occasions, the defense was able to get to either Page or Wenning untouched, which Lembo said it made for good competition.

"I think it was a back and forth kind of game," he said. "As a coach that's what you want to see. You want to come out here and see a back and forth type game in your spring finale."

Freshman cornerback Quintin Cooper intercepted a pass from sophomore quarterback Brooks Medaris for a 28-yard touchdown in the second quarter to tie the game at 23. 

The White team was able to record a safety when it sacked Page in the endzone in the third quarter. 

The spring game was concluded with a series of field goals that were made by both sophomore Steven Schott and freshman Scott Secor to put the score to 51-38. 

During the offseason, Lembo said he expects several things before camp in the fall. 

"Whether it's coming out and throwing with the running backs and receivers and tight ends or coming in and studying film on their own those types of things you hope to see during the summer months," Lembo said.

As for naming a starting quarterback, Lembo said he has yet to make a decision.

"I want to look at the film from today and grade it early Monday morning," he said. "I would say [Wenning] probably has a slight edge if you take all the spring together. But it was really good to see [Page] come out and really battle today." 


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