CHARLESTON, SC - The Citadel football team highlighted spring practice with the annual Coke Zero Blue-White game that went the way of the White team who captured a close 51-48 contest at Johnson Hagood Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Shon Belton led the way for the Bulldogs offensively with 141 rushing yards as he reached the endzone on three occasions. Among those carries included an 80-yard scamper past the Blue defense for the opening strike of the game.
"At times this season Belton has struggled to get out of his own way, but the last week he has really calmed down and be able to operate efficiently," said head coach Mike Houston. "He took advantage of some of the second team defense made and showed that he had great athleticism, while being able to use his speed.
"When he was in a situation that he was forced to use his speed he obviously used that, which is the continued progress of a freshman quarterback."
Another offensive standout was running back Evan McField, who finished with 86 yards on 13 carries (6.6 ypc).
Cam Jackson, who opened under center with the first unit, capped off his day with 43 yards rushing and 64 yards through the air. Jackson connected on 3-of-8 passing attempts, including a 32-yard strike to Brandon Eakins, as the offense tallied 398 yards on 77 total plays.
The longest play from scrimmage, which brought The Citadel faithful to its feet, came on a 92-yard completion from Belton to C.J. Thomas. Thomas worked his way past the secondary and made the initial reception at the 33-yard line as he streaked to the end zone.
"C.J. is a freshman walk-on receiver who's had a good spring and looks to develop into someone that is going to play for us," added Houston. "The breakdown at the corner position which I am not happy about, but it was a great nice play by Thomas to take advantage of the opportunity."
The Dogs head into this week with two spring practices remaining, however Houston has been pleased with the overall progress of the team heading into his second season.
"The defensive line performances of Jonathan King and Mark Thomas as well as the emergence of Travis Johnson have been solid for us," said Houston. "At linebacker Tevin Floyd and James Riley have been solid, but Myles Pierce adds depth at that position.
"At the Bandit position Josh Massey and Quinlan Washington have been thrust into a situation of playing a lot in Dondray Copeland missing time and those two players have had a chance to go out on the field and do some really positive things for us," added Houston.