Ohio State’s Spring Game Includes Four Touchdowns, Four Interceptions As Scarlet Wins, 34-33

By Dan Hope on April 13, 2024 at 1:58 pm

Ohio State’s spring game didn’t provide any clear answers on the Buckeyes’ quarterback competition, but it did prove to be a stage for numerous young and less heralded Buckeyes to put their talents on display in Ohio Stadium.

Walk-on wide receiver Brennen Schramm and running backs James Peoples, Sam Williams-Dixon and TC Caffey combined for four touchdowns for the Scarlet offense while backup defensive backs Jaylen McClain, Calvin Simpson-Hunt, Brenten “Inky” Jones and Dianté Griffin all came up with interceptions for the Gray defense in Ohio State’s spring-ending scrimmage, which the offense won 34-33.

Will Howard and Devin Brown each played for only one half, splitting series with Lincoln Kienholz and Julian Sayin in the first half before the younger trio of Sayin, Kienholz and Air Noland played the entire second half at quarterback.

  Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4  
SCARLET 3 10 14 7 34
GRAY 9 6 12 7 33

Howard started the game with the first-team offense and completed his first three passing attempts for 27 combined yards, but missed inside of Carnell Tate on a deep ball to the end zone. The opening drive of the game ended when Jack Sawyer bulled Carson Hinzman, who started the game at right guard alongside Seth McLaughlin at center, back to the quarterback for what constituted a sack in a scrimmage where the quarterbacks weren’t being tackled.

Kienholz started the game with the second-string offense. His first drive featured a Mitchell Melton sack and another forced punt, giving Gray a 6-0 lead under the modified scoring format.

JULIAN SAYIN 10/17 85 0/1
WILL HOWARD 9/13 77 0/0
DEVIN BROWN 5/7 66 1/0
A. NOLAND 5/7 47 0/1
C. RAY 1/2 11 0/0
TEAM 40/63 357 1/4

Brown took over with the first-team offense for the game’s third series and drove the Scarlet side into the red zone before also missing a potential touchdown pass to Tate with Davison Igbinosun in coverage. Jayden Fielding gave the Scarlet its first three points of the game with a 32-yard field goal.

Sayin took over at quarterback behind the second-team offensive line for the game’s fourth possession. His first drive ended with a sack by Eddrick Houston that led to another forced punt, giving Gray another three points to take a 9-3 lead.

Howard came back in for the fifth drive of the game. Emeka Egbuka provided the highlight of the day to get the Buckeyes into the red zone as he made a spectacular one-handed catch for an 18-yard gain.

From there, three straight passes from the 14-yard line – two intended for Jeremiah Smith and one intended for Egbuka – fell incomplete, forcing the offense to settle for another 32-yard field goal, which Fielding converted.

Simpson-Hunt came up with the game’s first takeaway on the next possession when Kienholz threw the ball straight to him for an interception, extending Gray’s lead to 12-6.

Brown put together the best offensive drive of the day for any quarterback on his second series in the game. After lasering a 25-yard pass past two defenders to David Adolph, Brown completed back-to-back passes to Brennen Schramm, culminating with an 11-yard touchdown pass.

Sayin threw the day’s second interception on the subsequent possession as he was picked off by McClain, putting Gray back in front on the scoreboard, 15-13.

Jason Moore added two more points for the defense with a sack on the next series before Fielding missed a 48-yard field goal wide right to conclude the first half.

Howard finished his one half of play with nine completions on 13 attempts for 77 yards while Brown finished with five completions on seven attempts for 66 yards and a touchdown.

Egbuka led all receivers with four catches for 47 yards in the first half while Quinshon Judkins was the leading first-half rusher with four carries for 31 yards; neither of them played in the second half, either, as established starters came out of the game. C.J. Hicks led all defenders with six first-half tackles.

Sayin nearly threw another interception on the opening drive of the second half on an inaccurate throw intended for Jayden Ballard that went off the hands of Aaron Scott Jr. After that drive ended with a forced punt, Kienholz threw his second interception on the game’s next series as he was picked off by Jones.

Sayin put together his best drive of the day on the next series, completing several downfield passes to Adolph and Will Kacmarek before Peoples capped off the drive with an 8-yard touchdown run, tying the score at 20-all with 6:49 to play in the third quarter.

Air Noland saw his first action of the day at quarterback after Peoples’ touchdown run. His first drive of the game went for another Scarlet touchdown with the Buckeyes’ other freshman running back, Sam Williams-Dixon, scampering to the end zone for a 22-yard score.

The defense came up with stops on each of the final two series of the third quarter to make it a one-point game entering the fourth quarter. Caffey ran for his touchdown from four yards out of the end zone to extend Scarlet’s lead to eight points with 7:22 to play.

Hero Kanu and Caden Curry came up with sacks on back-to-back plays on the next series to put four more points on the board with Gray with about four minutes left to play.

The scrimmage concluded with Griffin, the grandson of Archie Griffin, picking off Noland on the last play of the game.

Sayin and Kienholz both finished the game with 10 completions on 17 passing attempts, with Sayin throwing for a game-high 85 yards and Kienholz throwing for 71. Noland completed five of seven passing attempts for 47 yards and added 42 rushing yards, second-most among all players behind Williams-Dixon (75 yards on 11 carries). 

Adolph finished as the day’s leading receiver (four catches for 50 yards) while Hicks finished with a game-high eight tackles. Jones finished with seven tackles, including one for loss, while Houston, Scott and Sonny Styles all had six.

Game Notes

  • Scoring for the spring game was traditional for the offense while the defense scored points by takeaways (three points), three-and-outs (three points), sacks (two points) and forced punts (one point).
  • TreVeyon Henderson, Gee Scott Jr. and Emeka Egbuka served as the game captains for Scarlet while Jack Sawyer, JT Tuimoloau and Ty Hamilton were the game captains for Gray.
  • Players who were unavailable for the game due to injuries included Brandon Inniss, Reis Stocksdale, Miles Walker, Payton Pierce, Kourt Williams, Bryce West, Lorenzo Styles Jr., Malik Hartford, Ja'Had Carter and Lathan Ransom. Dallan Hayden was not in attendance after informing Ohio State earlier this week that he would enter the transfer portal.
  • The starting lineup on offense consisted of QB Will Howard, RB TreVeyon Henderson, RB Quinshon Judkins, TE Gee Scott Jr., TE Patrick Gurd, TE Jelani Thurman, LT Josh Simmons, LG Donovan Jackson, C Seth McLaughlin, RG Carson Hinzman and RT Josh Fryar. The Buckeyes started the game in a “T formation” as an homage to Woody Hayes.
  • The starting lineup on defense consisted of DE Jack Sawyer, DE JT Tuimoloau, DT Ty Hamilton, DT Hero Kanu, LB C.J. Hicks, LB Cody Simon, CB Denzel Burke, CB Davison Igbinosun, CB Jordan Hancock, S Caleb Downs and S Jayden Bonsu.
  • Former Ohio State players in attendance for the game included Ezekiel Elliott, Denzel Ward, Jeff Okudah, Paris Johnson Jr., Wyatt Davis, Raekwon McMillan, Baron Browning and Jalyn Holmes.
  • 80,012 people attended the spring game.

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