The annual spring football game offers chances for players down the depth chart opportunities to shine.
Shining out of the running back group looking to replace two big keys, Ty Brooks took his opportunity.
The sophomore led all runners with 104 yards on eight carries. Sixty yards came on a long touchdown run, his second of the game. On the big run, Brooks showed good cut speed and agility to spin off a defender and outrun the defense to the end zone.
“I did not have the prefect day I wanted to have for myself but I feel like the backs as a whole and the offense as a whole had a great day,” Brooks said.
One mark against Brooks was on his first touchdown, where he was stripped of the ball at the goal line.
“Little things, I appreciate Ty’s effort but you can’t turn the ball over when he is going into the end zone,” head coach Chris Klieman said. “But I love the way the kid competes. He is an extremely competitive guy.”
His two scores also led the Gold offense to a 33-31 victory over the Green defense in a modified scoring system.
The running back group is looking to replace King Frazier and Chase Morlock, both graduated last year. Lance Dunn and Bruce Anderson occupy the first two spots in the depth chart, but three and four have hot competition.
Brooks looks to have his hands on that three spot but he is being pushed by Demaris Purifoy. Brooks’ fellow sophomore had a team high 11 carries, totaling 87 yards. Purifoy scored on a 27-yard run early in the game.
In the passing game, the numbers were not as impressive. Easton Stick, Cole Davis and Henry Van Dellen combined for 7-20 and 54 yards.
Davis, the senior backup to Stick, completed his attempts, including a touchdown to tight end Ben Ellefson.
“I thought it was a successful spring with steps forward in the right direction. Just trying to come out and competing every day,” Ellefson said. “One of the things I worked on this spring was the pass game. I am not the fastest guy so I have to use some different types of elusiveness to get open.”
On the defense side of the ball, perhaps the biggest sight was Nick DeLuca returning to the field. The sixth-year senior returned from shoulder surgery last fall to play some snaps during the “thud” portion of the game. Since the game was a glorified scrimmage, a part was not full contact, this allowed DeLuca to take the field.
With points being scored for sacks by the defense, the pressure came quickly to the quarterbacks. Jabril Cox showed speed off the edge to get to Van Dellen in no time flat.
Sophomore Cole Karcz got a good push in the middle to get Stick. The quarterback also met with senior Greg Menard.
The defense scored on an interception by James Hendricks. Van Dellen, the third string quarterback, under-threw his deep man and Hendricks picked off the pass.
“It was good to end the spring right, long spring, good spring, learned a lot and tried to get better every single day and I think I did that,” Hendricks said.
Van Dellen made up for it, as he threw a fade into the end zone where only redshirt freshman Sean Engle could come down with it. The receiver did but an illegal formation penalty negated the touchdown.
The game concludes spring football practice. Now Bison fans will have to wait until September for football. NDSU will open the 2017 season Sept. 2 at home against Mississippi Valley State.