After scoring a total of one touchdown the previous two years in the annual intrasquad scrimmage, the Giants offense exploded for four TDs along with a field goal in nine possessions Saturday at the University at Albany.
Quarterbacks Kent Graham, Kerry Collins, and Mike Cherry each threw a touchdown pass and rookie Sean Bennett ran 1 yard for the other score. "As a measuring point at this time, it certainly was a lot better than we did the last two years," said head coach Jim Fassel, who last year saw his defense shut out the offense.
"We're definitely ahead in our overall ability to throw it, catch it, and protect. But I'm going to be very guarded. I thought we did pretty good today and it definitely was better than before. But I'm still very guarded, we have a lot of work to do."
The Giants netted 389 total yards on 62 snaps, including 289 net yards through the air. Graham directed the first offense for 10 points against the second defense, tossing a 35-yard screen pass TD to Tiki Barber. Collins had a touchdown drive with the second offense against the first defense, drilling a 5-yard scoring pass to Fred Brock on a scramble. Cherry threw a 29-yard touchdown pass to David Patten and fourth-stringer Steve Buck directed a scoring drive culminating in Bennett's run around right end.
Graham was 5-for-8 for 83 yards while Collins hit 5-for-12 for 107, including a 60-yarder down the left sideline to Joe Jurevicius. "I've got a good feeling coming out of it," said Collins, who thought the sidearm touchdown throw to Brock was his best pass of the day.
"[Pass protection] broke down in the pocket and I had to get out of there," said Collins, who rolled to his right on the play. "Freddie did a good job giving me a place to throw the ball. It was pretty tight quarters so I just had to get it in there quickly and kind of went back to my baseball days."
Running back LeShon Johnson marked his return with 42 yards on eight carries. "At first I was a little nervous, I didn't know what to expect," said Johnson, who sat out all of last season with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. "But after the first hit I settled down. I wanted to work on my consistency and stay patient."
Bennett added 46 yards rushing while rookie tight end Dan Campbell caught three passes for 48 yards and wide receiver Amani Toomer three for 39. Cherry was 4-for-8 for 60 yards, Buck 3-for-5 for 44. Keith Hamilton had the lone sack of the day for 5 yards, and there were no turnovers.