Release from Georgia State Athletics:
Redshirt freshman quarterback Aaron Winchester led the White team to a 23-6 victory over the Blue team in Georgia State’s annual Spring Game, held Saturday at the GSU Soccer Complex at Panthersville.
A crowd of nearly 2,000 enjoyed the day of family fun, which included a free Youth Football Day conducted by the Panthers before the Spring Game and an autograph session afterward.
“This was a great day!” head coach Trent Miles gushed afterward. “We had great support, we had a great time with the little kids in the youth day, we had great weather, and a great field to play on – thanks to our facilities staff for getting this field in such good shape.
“And no major injuries. Now it’s time to go cheer on R.J. Hunter,” Miles added, referring to the former Panther basketball standout who is in town with the Boston Celtics for tonight’s NBA playoff game vs. the Atlanta Hawks.
Winchester, competing for the starting job along with sophomore Emiere Scaife and graduate transfer Conner Manning, completed nine of 16 passes for 167 yards with three touchdown passes, covering six, five and 39 yards. He also rushed for 24 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown.
Manning was 11-for-21 for 82 yards, and Scaife was 5-for-10 for 72 yards.
While Winchester had by far the gaudiest statistics, Miles saw postive signs from Manning and Scaife as well.
“I thought he [Winchester] played well, but they all did some really good things,” Miles said. “It’s very difficult when you have the team divided. You might have a starter and a walk-on next to him, so it can be difficult to evaluate.
“Aaron was outstanding, but I saw a lot of really good things from all the quarterbacks and some things we have to work on. Overall, I was pleased with what I saw from Aaron, Conner and Emiere.”
With many of the established starters seeing limited action, some other players and new faces stepped up. Junior receiver Todd Boyd, who looks to step into the starting role vacated by Donovan Harden, was the leading receiver with four catches for 107 yards, including a 39-yard scoring pass.
Senior Octavious Andrews had five catches for 38 yards, and sophomore Mattavius Scott capped a strong spring with three receptions for 67 yards, including a 5-yard touchdown. True freshman Jonathan Ifedi, an early enrollee this semester, caught three passes for 32 yards.
In the running game, the Panthers’ depth in the backfield was on display. Returning starter Glenn Smith was the leading rusher with 65 yards on 10 carries, but Demarcus Kirk (9-47) and Kyler Neal (6-20) also ran well.
Defensively, walk-on linebacker Justin Otiwu had the only interception, and linebacker Niemus Bryant came up with a fumble recovery.
“I saw some pressure, some good hits, some run stops, and some things we have to work on,” Miles said of the defensive line.
The Panthers have concluded spring practice, but the work continues in preparation for the 2016 season as Georgia State looks to build on the momentum of their AutoNation Cure Bowl berth in 2015.
“You keep your momentum going by the work you put in,” Miles said. “Our players worked extremely hard in the classroom and in the weight room through winter conditioning and spring practice.”
Georgia State opens the 2016 season on Sept. 2, hosting Ball State at the Georgia Dome.