HOUSTON – Texas Southern University’s first spring football game under head coach Clarence McKinney was played Sunday as dozens of fans got a sneak peek at the 2019 Tigers.
The game matched up the offensive units against the defensive units, with the defense making several stops and big defensive plays. At the end of the afternoon, the scoreboard showed the defense winning 57-40.
Following the game, McKinney praised with the efforts shown by his players on both sides of the ball.
“The biggest thing I saw was they were competitive,” McKinney said. “We’ve asked them from day one to compete every situation, every drill, never give up, and always fight.”
Matthew Stephenson and Patrick Howell each had 11 tackles to lead the defense. Howell also had a clean interception that would’ve resulted in a 65-yard touchdown if not for the spring game’s modified rules. Points were awarded to the defense based on turnovers and forcing fourth downs.
Julian Marcantel and Ikeena Onwuasoanya each had nine tackles for the defense; Onwuasoanya recorded two and a half quarterback sacks on Sunday.
Quarterbacks Devin Williams and DeAndre Johnson threw two touchdowns apiece Saturday. Williams completed 18 out of 27 passes for 208 yards, and threw and completed an 83-yard pass to Montel Parker.
Johnson was 13-of-26 passing and threw for 197 yards. He also ran for a touchdown.
Roylain Oliver led the receiving corps with 11 catches for 107 yards. Donnie Corley Jr. caught nine passes for 102 yards and a touchdown reception. Benjamin Hawkins led the running backs with 101 yards on 22 carries.
McKinney acknowledged the fans who came and watched the game, and encouraged them to continue to support the team when the fall season arrives.
“We consider [our] effort being the price of admission, so if our fans are going to pay to watch us play, we’re going to play hard,” he said.
The 2019 season begins Saturday, Aug. 31, when the Tigers host the Labor Day Classic against Prairie View A&M at BBVA Compass Stadium.