GREENVILLE, NC (UNCW) — East Carolina quarterbacks Kurt Benkert and Philip Nelson combined for 447 passing yards and collectively engineered three touchdown drives, while running backs Anthony Scott and Devin Anderson tallied 93 rushing yards on 18 carries as the Pirates concluded spring practice Saturday with their annual Purple-Gold game at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
While the contest was primarily and offense-versus-defense scrimmage, Benkert led the Purple team to a 17-13 victory over Nelson’s Gold squad. Each signal-caller alternated turns guiding both the No. 1 and No. 2 units in the program’s current depth chart throughout the afternoon.
“I liked the tempo of our offense, but we have to clean up the mental errors and penalties,” first-year head coach Scottie Montgomery said. “The defense felt the tempo today for the first time in a long time and we have to tackle better. Coach (Jeff) Connors has us in great shape and I’m looking forward to the offseason now.”
Nelson completed 13-of-24 passes for 231 yards, while Benkert was 12-of-25 for 216 yards and a touchdown, connecting with Trevon Brown for a 75-yarder on the first snap of the day.
Scott led the rushing attack with 47 yards and one TD – a 15-yarder to close out the scoring – on 10 carries. Anderson added 46 on eight attempts and Benkert accounted for the other tally by reaching the endzone from six yards out.
Brown was among six receivers who caught multiple passes, pulling in three for 95 yards. Brandon Bishop (92 yards), Davon Grayson (85), Terrell Green (84) and Scott (48) each recorded a team-best four receptions. In all, Pirate pass-catchers tallied a combined eight grabs that went 20 or more yards.
East Carolina got a perfect performance from both of its placekickers as Davis Plowman drilled 28 and 27-yard field goals and knocked through his only extra point. Caleb Pratt converted a 23-yard three-pointer and was two-of-two in PATs.
Defensively, defensive back Dedrick Hawkins led all tacklers with eight hits, while inside linebacker Ray Tillman and lineman Demage Bailey each netted six stops, including one behind the line of scrimmage.
Cornerback DeShaun Amos posted the Pirates’ only takeaway of the game, stepping in front of a Benkert pass early in the second half and returning the pick 38 yards.
“For this spring, we went over what we thought we could get done because our guys have high football IQ’s,” Montgomery added. “I’m really happy about what we accomplished. That said, we have a lot of packages that we didn’t show today, so it was kind of a restricted deal for us. Our guys have a lot of things on their plates and they handled it well.”
East Carolina opens its 2016 season against Western Carolina at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Sept. 3.
Eight players were recognized for their efforts during spring drills during a halftime ceremony: Offensive MVP – Trevon Brown; Defensive MVP – DaShaun Amos; Special Teams MVP – Worth Gregory; Most Improved Offensive Player – Garrett McGhin; Most Improved Defensive Player – Darius Commissiong; Offensive “Respect The Ball” Award – Philip Nelson; Defensive “Respect The Ball” Award – Corey Seargent; Community Service Award – Randall Anderson.
PURPLE-GOLD GAME STATISTICS
RUSHING: Anthony Scott (10-47, 1 TD), Devin Anderson (8-46), Shawn Furlow (5-17), Kurt Benkert (3-11, 1 TD), Derrell Scott (3-10), James Summers (4-8), Philip Nelson (4-<-13>). Totals –– 37-126 (3.4 ypr), 2 TD.
PASSING: Philip Nelson (24-13-0, 231 yards), Kurt Benkert (25-12-1, 216 yards, 1 TD). Totals –– 49-25-1, 447 yards, 1 TD (51.0%).
RECEIVING: Trevon Brown (3-95, 1 TD), Brandon Bishop (4-92), Davon Grayson (4-85), Terrell Green (4-84), Anthony Scott (4-48), Devin Anderson (1-14), Shawn Furlow (2-9), Deondre Farrier (1-7), Derrell Scott (1-7), Quay Johnson (1-6). Totals –– 25-447, 1 TD
TACKLES: Dedrick Hawkins 8, Ray Tillman 6 (TFL/-1 yard), Demage Bailey 6 (TFL/-1 yard), Dayon Pratt 4 (TFL/-3 yards), Kiante Anderson 4 (TFL/-2 yards, PD), Yiannis Bowden 4, Joe Carter 4, Austin Teague 4, Cam White 3 (TFL/-4 yards), Demetri McGill 3 (TFL/-2 yards), Corey Seargent 3 (2 PD’s), Nhyre Quinerly 3 (PD), Travis Phillips 3, Shaun James 2 (TFL/-2 yards), Jordan Williams 2 (PD), Trevian Hicks 2, Chris Love 2, Blake Norwood 2, Terrell Richardson 2, DaShaun Amos 1 (TFL/-1 yard, PD, INT), Randall Anderson 1 (TFL/-1 yard, sack/-1 yard), Fred Presley 1 (TFL/-4 yards), Darius Commissiong 1 (TFL/-3 yards), Marquel King 1 (TFL-2 yards), Joe Allely 1, Pat Green 1, Devon Sutton 1, Anthony Orr 1, Colby Gore (PD)
TOTAL OFFENSE/TOTAL DEFENSE: 86-573 (6.7 ypp)
INTERCEPTIONS: 1 (DaShaun Amos)
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS: 10-18 (55.6%) – Kurt Benkert (6-8), Philip Nelson (4-10)
FOURTH DOWN CONVERSIONS (when attempted): 1-2 (50.0%) – Philip Nelson (1-2)
PENALTIES: 7 (5/OFFENSE – 5 false start; 2/DEFENSE – offside, facemask)
QUARTERBACK FIRST DOWN/SCORING CHART (DRIVES):
Kurt Benkert – 10 first downs, 2 TD, 1 FG (TD, punt, FG, punt, TD, interception, punt)
Philip Nelson – 14 first downs, 1 TD, 2 FG (punt, downs, FG, punt, FG, TD)
SCORING: TDs –3, FG – 3-of-3, PATs – 3-of-3
Trevon Brown 75-yard pass from Kurt Benkert (Davis Plowman PAT)
Caleb Pratt 23-yard field goal
Davis Plowman 28-yard field goal
Kurt Benkert 6-yard run (Caleb Pratt PAT)
Davis Plowman 27-yard field goal
Anthony Scott 15-yard run (Caleb Pratt PAT)
PUNTING: Worth Gregory (5-173 – 34.6 ypp)