People are certainly excited about the Mark Stoops era at Kentucky.
Only a few months on the job, Stoops watched as a record 50,831 fans showed up to watch Wildcats' Blue/White Spring Game inside Commonwealth Stadium Saturday night. Even with all the questions still remaining for this football team, Big Blue Nation clearly likes the change going on under Stoops and came out in full force for the Blue team's 24-23 win over the White squad.
"Thought it was a great night for the program," Stoops said. "Really appreciate the fan support, just an unbelievable atmosphere. I thought the players played hard. Made some mistakes, but overall, pretty clean game. So, very excited."
The competition everyone was ready to see was at quarterback. Maxwell Smith entered the spring as the favorite to win the job, but split reps with rising sophomores Jalen Whitlow and Patrick Towles. All three played for both the Blue and White teams Saturday, and Whitlow had the best statistical day of the trio.
Whitlow finished the day completing 17 of 28 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns. He got the scrimmage going with a 16-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Legree to put the White team up 7-0 with 7:38 remaining in the first quarter.
Smith was 11 of 18 passing with 108 yards and a 47-yard touchdown pass. Towles was 6-of-13 for 65 yards and threw both a touchdown and an interception.
Stoops said after the game that this battle will continue through fall camp. It should be a good one to watch in Lexington.
The Wildcats also officially welcomed running back Josh Clemons back to the football field after he missed all of 2012 with a knee injury he suffered halfway through the 2011 season. Clemons carried the ball 10 times for 56 yards, with a long of 15 for the Blue team. Dyshawn Mobley, who the coaches are really high on right now, led all rushers with 79 yards on 15 carries.
To read more about Kentucky's spring game, check out the Wildcats' official website.
Because of injuries, the Rebels took a page out of Florida coach Will Muschamp's book and held more of a practice with offense versus defense periods to go with practice drills.
The offensive stars of the day were wide receiver Ja'Mes Logan, who caught five passes for 101 yards, and backup quarterback Maikhail Miller, who threw for 46 yards on 7 of 11 passing. Starter Bo Wallace was out, as he continues to recover from shoulder surgery. You can read more about the Rebels' scrimmage on their official website.
The Black team grabbed a 44-30 win over the Garnet team in front of a crowd of 35,218 inside Williams-Brice Stadium. Four Gamecocks quarterbacks combined to throw for 523 yards and five touchdowns, but the highlight of the day came with Jadeveon Clowney, who was out with injuries, grabbed a 54-yard touchdown pass on the game's annual pass-to-someone-coming-off-the-sideline play. Clowney took an awkward spill after he caught the pass, but the ref "missed it" and allowed Clowney to sprint into the end zone, where he later chucked the ball into the stands.
To read more about South Carolina's spring game, check out the team's official website.
A record crowd of 45,212 showed up to watch the Maroon team defeat the White team 43-23. Johnny Manziel was yet again the star of the show, passing for 303 yards and three touchdowns. Running back Trey Williams carried the ball seven times for a game-high 67 yards, while Brandon Williams rushed seven times for 59 yards.
Trey Williams added a 23-yard touchdown run, while Brandon Williams rushed for a 1-yard score and caught a 10-yard pass for another touchdown.
For more on the Aggies' spring game, check out the school's official website.
Carey Spear lifted the Black team to a 17-15 win over the Gold Team with a 25-yard field goal as time expired in the fourth quarter. The quarterback battle has been arguably the most watch position battle this spring at Vandy, and both Austyn Carta-Samuels and Patton Robinette impressed on Saturday.
Carta-Samuels led all quarterbacks with 196 yards and a touchdown, while Robinette threw for another 101 yards and a score. Receivers Chris Boyd and Jordan Matthews combined to catch nine passes for 128 yards and a touchdown (Matthews).