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PROVO, Utah (April 14, 2007) -- In front of 16,752 fans, transfer quarterback Brenden Gaskins led the his team to a 10-0 victory in the annual Blue/White Spring game at LaVell Edwards Stadium to wrap up the Spring season.
Gaskins, who took most of the snaps with the second-team offense after Cade Cooper injured his ankle, completed 19-of-22 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown. Max Hall quarterbacked the first-team offense and completed 15-of-19 passes for 139 yards and was intercepted once. Combined, the two quarterbacks completed an amazing 83 percent of their attempts. Hall completed his first seven pass attempts while Gaskins connected on his first five pass attempts.
"I was very sad to see Cade get hurt that early; however, it was positive to see Brenden Gaskins come in and get significant work with the team as a number three. I thought he showed confidence and capability, and I liked the way he played. For not getting much work the entire spring, I thought he showed poise. I thought he moved the football team, and that has made our quarterback position even more solid."
The first play of the scrimmage—a Max Hall pass—went to Andrew George for a 24-yard game up the right side of the field. On the next play Ryan Neeley caught an 11-yard pass for another first down. Russell Tialavea then forced a fumble that was recovered by Markell Staffieri that stopped the five-play, 36-yard drive.
Cade Cooper took the field for the White team and after he fumbled on second and third downs, Hall took the Blue offense back on to the field. George excited the crowd as he made a leaping 18-yard grab for another home team first down. On a pivotal third-and-five olay on the White 29-yard line, Brandon Howard deflected a pass that ended the Blue drive. Mitch Payne then missed a 46-yard field goal attempt.
Gaskins entered the game at quarterback for the injured Cooper and immediately began marching down the field. After four first downs, Payne finished off the 14-play, 61-yard drive with a 27-yard field goal to put the White team on the board first, 3-0. Running back Ryan Folsom had two carries for 16 yards and caught one pass for nine yards on the drive.
"I've learned that the team is confident, optimistic and is holding themselves to a higher standard," said BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall. "The team expects greatness, and they're willing to work even at a higher level than they ever have."
Hall's third drive of the scrimmage ended quickly when Kelly Poppinga immediately hit Wayne Latu after he caught the ball on third-and-five that stopped the Blue team's drive just shy of a first down.
"A big part of the offense is finishing, but overall I thought our execution was good today," said Max Hall. "I think the overall performance on both sides of the ball was very impressive."
Gaskins took his offense back on the field and marched down to the Blue's 35-yard line but after Blue's Matt Putnam sacked Gaskins on third and short, Payne missed a 52-yard field goal attempt. On the drive Neeley caught three passes for 19 yards.
Hall then marched the Blue team all the way to the three-yard line where he had first and goal. The White team's Kellen Fowler then came up with a huge Blue-Zone interception to stop the 10-play and 62-yard drive.
The White team's next drive was highlighted by the longest play of the scrimmage when Gaskins connected with Daniel Tervort on a 27-yard pass to take the white team down to the Blue's 37-yard line. Gaskins capped the 12-play 97-yard drive off with a five-yard touchdown pass to Reed White to extend the White team lead 10-0. Tervort had three receptions for 36 yards on the drive.
"To get in and play as well as I did, I'm just so grateful I got the opportunity," said Gaskins.
The Cougars look forward to their opening game of the 2007 campaign when they face the University of Arizona on September 1 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall:
"It was very sad to see Cade get hurt that early; however, it was positive to see Brenden Gaskins come in and get significant work with the team as a number three. I thought he showed confidence and capability, and I liked the way he played. For not getting much work the entire spring, I thought he showed poise. I thought he moved the football team, and that has made our quarterback position even more solid."
"I've learned the team is confident. The team is optimistic. The team is holding themselves to a higher standard. The team expects greatness, and they're willing to work even at a higher level than they ever have. They're very clear about the work that remains. I anticipate a really intense summer with player leadership taking over to move us forward."
"I thought defensively, execution-wise throughout the day was solid."
On QB situation: "We'll make an announcement most likely Monday. We have a strategy in place with the last week that we thought we'd sit down with the coaching staff first, then the quarterbacks on Monday. Most likely an announcement will be made maybe Monday, maybe Tuesday regarding where we go from here. Just as we did before between John Beck and Jason Beck, it took the analysis of what happened through the spring, comparing the numbers, and getting a sense for who led the team best. After we do all that, then we move forward."
QUARTERBACK MAX HALL: "We marched up and down the field. We just couldn't get in [the endzone]. A big part of the offense is finishing, but overall, I thought our execution was good today. I think the overall performance on both sides of the ball was very impressive."
On his chances of being named starter: "I feel good. I'm just blessed to be here right now. I think I had a good spring. I feel real confident in myself. I'm just excited to go through summer workouts and get ready for the fall."
On Cade: "Cade came in here, and he's worked his butt off all winter and spring. He's a great quarterback and it's unfortunate he had to go out his first series. I feel bad for him, but it was good to have other guys step up and play and know that we have depth at the position."
QUARTERBACK BRENDEN GASKINS: "It's just great to be in front of this many people. Growing up a BYU fan and getting the opportunity to play in LaVell Edwards Stadium is another great thing that happened today. To get in and play as well as I did, I'm just so grateful I got the opportunity."
"We've been working so hard on position mastery throughout the offseason. I think it was a success."