Texas defense forces three turnovers, Ash tosses two touchdown passes in Spring game

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Jay-Z may have invented swag, but this spring David Ash has apparently picked up where the Brooklyn rapper left off and is cultivating his own swag-filled persona on and off the football field.

“He has loosened up a lot,” receiver Mike Davis said after the annual Orange-White game held Saturday night. “He’s got some swag now. And he’s been dancing more, too.”

Ash led the first team offense to a field goal on its opening drive before connecting with Davis on a 38-yard touchdown pass on the second drive of the first quarter. The junior quarterback finished the game 17-of-24 passing for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Ash did throw two interceptions in the second quarter, one on a failed shovel pass that was snatched up by linebacker Jordan Hicks. The second pick came just before the half when receiver Bryant Jackson was unable to haul in a pass over the middle of the field from Ash and freshman defensive back Adrian Colbert snagged the tipped ball.

“I just have to be more aware in those types of situations and eat the ball,” Ash said. “When you give the ball away you can’t score.”

Ash had a new receiver to throw to during the scrimmage as sophomore defensive back turned kick returner turned wide receiver Orlando “Duke” Thomas lined up with the offense and caught three passes for 27 yards. Thomas also returned two kickoffs for a total of 65 yards, all while playing cornerback on the defensive side of the ball.

“Duke is a great competitor and a guy we all want to utilize in the best possible way,” offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Major Applewhite said. “He’s a gym rat and he reminds us a lot of Quandre Diggs. He does a lot of things right and picks up things quickly, too.”

There were more new faces for Texas on offense as freshman quarterbacks Tyrone Swoopes and Jalen Overstreet were unveiled in the second half. Swoopes, who is expected to redshirt, is still third in line behind Case McCoy in backing up Ash but is quickly moving up in the ranks. Swoopes ran four times for 26 yards and also completed both of his attempted passes while being flushed out of the pocket. Both Overstreet and Swoopes had runs of over 20 yards.

Defensively, Texas ran only four different looks and rotated a lot of new players while players like Jackson Jeffcoat and Demarco Cobbs continue to rehabilitate from injuries. Freshman Caleb Blueitt was able to get into the backfield on more than one occasion to disrupt the offense, but had to pull up short on his would-be sacks ofthe Texas quarterbacks.

The Texas defense forced three total turnovers with McCoy also throwing an interception on a deep ball intended for receiver John Harris. The pass was intercepted by Sheroid Evans who ran the ball back 60 yards to the two-yard line.

Johnathan Gray would punch the ball from the two for his only touchdown on the night. Gray finished with six carries for a game-high 45 yards. Harris led all receivers with 73 receiving yards, but Davis was the most productive, nabbing four catches for 66 yards and a touchdown.

“I think the offense managed really well,” head coach Mack Brown said. “It will get faster and more efficient.”