Nearly five months since his last start under center, Jonathon Jennings picked up where he left off during Saturday’s scrimmage.
The sophomore was the starting signal caller for the White team, which defeated the Red team by a score of 24-0 in SVSU’s annual Red/White Spring Game.
“I was really pleased with the effort and competitiveness of the game,” said head coach Jim Collins. “I saw a lot of plays being made by young players who really were competing in a ‘college game’ for the first time, and it was good to see a good performance turned in by the veteran players as well, even though we limited a lot of their reps.”
Jennings led his squad to its first three scoring drives before exiting the game halfway through the second quarter. That score remained unchanged until a touchdown in the final minute iced the game for the White squad.
“It’s really about trying to go out there and have some fun and trying to compete a little bit,” Jennings said. “I threw an interception and had a couple of plays that I wish I could have had back, but we were just out there trying to have some fun and make some big plays.”
Junior running back Ronnie Lark punched the ball in to put the White team on the board first, and Jennings threw his only touchdown of the game to put his squad up 14-0 early in the second quarter. He helped put the White team within field goal range to make the score 17-0 before exiting the game midway through the second quarter.
Jennings’s led the White team to an early lead despite not having his main offensive target. Jeff Janis, a 6-foot-2 inch sophomore from Tawas City, was held in check on the Red team for the majority of the game.
This past season, Jennings and Janis connected for 14 touchdowns, including three in the team’s overtime playoff loss to Minnesota-Duluth.
“It was weird not having Janis, and it was weird not having my center there as well,” Jennings said. “It kind of throws things off a little bit because you’re so used to one guy doing certain things, but obviously some other receivers came in and played pretty well.”
The Red team was led by redshirt freshman quarterback Keith Moore, who may have made a case to be a favorite to back up Jennings next fall with his performance, showcasing his athleticism by scrambling and completing passes on the run.
“Keith has been working really hard,” Jennings said of the Detroit native. “They brought him in for a reason. He’s been doing everything he can to really compete for the position, and he’s really come out as a front runner.”
Jennings said that although it was only a scrimmage, the players had no problem getting motivated for the game.
“We talked smack to each other before the game for a while,” Jennings said. It’s really competitive because obviously you never want to lose. Everyone was out there battling and trying to compete.”
After Jennings left the game in the second quarter, both offenses stalled. Both defense combined to record six interceptions for the day.
“The defense was playing a heck of a game on our side, and also on the other side because there were a couple of picks,” Jennings said. “It was just a fun game.”
Fans, students and former players watched the game, filling up most of one half of the stadium. During halftime, former Cardinal and current Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Rob Calloway was honored in front of the crowd.
“It was great to see so many fans and former Cardinals at the game,” Collins said. “It was a beautiful day and having a big crowd for the spring game made it a great atmosphere.”
With spring practices now over, Jennings said that he would use this summer to work out and build chemistry with his teammates that are staying in Saginaw.
“Summer time, I’m really just working on getting bigger, faster, stronger,” Jennings said. “I’ll be working with my chemistry with my wide receivers, just building that camaraderie with the whole team in general, with everyone that’s staying up here this summer, to become better and closer.”