clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Team Red, coached by Gronk, wins Arizona football’s ‘incredibly fun’ Spring Game

arizona-wildcats-spring-football-recap-gronkowski-cruz-plummer-marshall-fisch-2021-wiley-bruschi Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

To the victors go the spoils. And the food truck fare.

Team Red (which wore white uniforms) won both bragging rights and avoiding having to dine on postgame hot dogs by pulling off a 17-13 win over Team Blue as the Arizona Wildcats wrapped up spring ball on Saturday afternoon at Arizona Stadium.

Before roughly 5,000 fans and hundreds of former players, Arizona’s spring roster was split into two squads of 43 players apiece for a 90-minute scrimmage broken into four 12-minute quarters. The Red unit, who had former UA great (and newly minted Guinness World Record holder) Rob Gronkowski as its honorary coach, took the lead for good on the final play of the third quarter on a 3-yard touchdown run by Michael Wiley.

Team Blue, coached by ex-Wildcat star Tedy Bruschi, had a shot to rally late but Bam Smith couldn’t hold onto a fourth-down pass from Will Plummer at the end.

Smith gave Team Blue a 10-7 lead midway through the second quarter after catching a 5-yard TD pass from Plummer, who was 10 of 21 for 140 yards but was also “sacked” twice by defensive lineman Shontrail Key. Quarterbacks were off limits from contact but plays were whistled dead if a defender got close enough to them.

Gunner Cruz was 5 of 7 for 110 yards and a TD for Team Red, connecting with tight end Stacey Marshall Jr. on a 40-yard score off a trick play in the first quarter to put his unit up 7-3. Cruz handed off to Stevie Rocker Jr., who reversed it to Boobie Curry who then lateraled back to Cruz for the deep throw.

The Washington State transfer also had a 61-yard completion to Jamarye Joiner, who appeared to get hurt on the play. Joiner spent the second half in street clothes with a boot on his left foot, the same one he had surgery on last spring to repair a Jones fracture.

Lucas Havrisik hit a pair of 48-yard field goals for Team Blue and was wide on a 55-yarder, while punter Tyler Loop pulled double duty and had a 44-yard field goal for Team Red.

Head coach Jedd Fisch said he won’t spend much time reviewing the film from the game because “we did a lot of stuff we’re not going to be doing in the fall.” He spent almost as much time hosing down the Zona Zoo—renamed the Gronx Zoo for Saturday—while he and Gronk tossed water balloons into the crowd.

“I just wanted guys to play hard, compete and have fun,” Fisch said.

All told, Arizona played all six quarterbacks on its spring roster, with five attempting a pass. Walk-ons Luke Ashworth (3 for 3, 56 yards) and Cameron Feitz (1 for 2, 8 yards) backed up Cruz on Team Red, while Kevin Doyle Jr. was 1 for 1 for 9 yards as he and walk-on Nick Moore spelled Plummer for much of the second half.

Receiver Brian Casteel was the game’s leading rusher, with three carries for 39 yards in addition to two catches for 24 yards for Team Blue, while Smith had 10 carries for 37 yards and three catches for 15 yards and a TD. Tight end Bryce Wolma caught three passes for 41 yards for Team Blue as Arizona’s tight ends combined for five receptions for 84 yards after producing six catches for 28 yards during the 5-game 2020 season.

“We had a tremendous turnout,” said wide receiver Stanley Berryhill III, who had two catches for 59 yards. “It was incredibly fun.”