Appalachian State University football wrapped up its first week of spring practice with a 34-play intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday inside the Sofield Family Indoor Practice Facility.
Saturday’s scrimmage came at the end of Appalachian State’s fifth practice this spring and its first session in full pads. The relatively short scrimmage featured six series and, as expected, younger student-athletes got the majority of snaps while most of the Mountaineers’ 15 returning offensive and defensive starters saw limited action.
While there were highlights on both sides of the ball, Appalachian’s defense got the better of its offensive counterparts overall on Saturday. In six series beginning around the defense’s 40 yard line, the offense was held out of the end zone five times before closing the scrimmage with its only touchdown drive. The defense limited the offense to just 132 yards over 34 plays (3.9 avg.) and recorded eight tackles for loss and two sacks.
Defensive standouts included senior end Nate Norwood (Hampton, Ga./Lovejoy), who recorded back-to-back tackles for loss on the opening series, sophomore linebacker Teh’ron Fuller (Fort Myers, Fla./South Fort Myers), who was in on a TFL and swatted down a pass in the backfield, and redshirt freshman linebacker Akeem Davis (Thomasville, N.C./Thomasville), who tallied a quarterback hurry and a sack.
Two of the day’s most impressive individual plays came from senior nose tackle Tyson Fernandez (Fuquay-Varina, N.C./Fuquay-Varina) and sophomore defensive back Justin Wilson (Elon, N.C./Western Alamance). Fernandez stormed into the backfield to blow up the very first play of the scrimmage while Wilson forced the only three-and-out of the afternoon with a tackle for loss on third-and-one to close the second series.
Offensively, running backs Terrence Upshaw (Duluth, Ga./Northview) and Jalin Moore (Shelby, N.C./Crest) combined for 71 yards on 14 carries. Upshaw, a junior, picked up 37 yards and a touchdown on six carries (6.2 avg.) while Moore, a sophomore, added 34 yards on eight totes (4.3 avg.). Senior Marcus Cox (Dacula, Ga./Dacula) notched 14 rushing yards in limited action.
Appalachian State attempted only nine passes in 34 plays. Starting quarterback Taylor Lamb (Calhoun, Ga./Calhoun) was only in for the first series and completed his lone pass, a 10-yarder to tight end Barrett Burns (Woodstock, Ga./Etowah). Sophomore J.P. Caruso (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens) completed 3-of-6 passes to for 23 yards and redshirt freshman Jake Easter (Pfafftown, N.C./Reagan) connected on both of his pass attempts for 13 yards.
Redshirt freshman tight end Collin Reed (Boiling Springs, S.C./Boiling Springs) was the only Mountaineer to catch multiple passes with two receptions for 17 yards.
Highlights from situational 11-on-11 drills prior to the scrimmage included Upshaw breaking off a 40-yard touchdown run, an interception and long return by senior safety Alex Gray (Suwanee, Ga./Peachtree Ridge) and true freshman defensive back Aris Duffey (St. Augustine, Fla./Nease) snuffing out a screen pass and leveling the receiver in the backfield for a big loss.
Appalachian State has 10 more practices remaining this spring, beginning on Monday.