West Virginia went into spring practice with a battle at quarterback, and it will end spring practice with one that’s even more intense, as neither has separated themselves including Saturday’s Gold-Blue Spring Game.
Junior Paul Millard finished 16-of-27 for 185 yards and three touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Ford Childress was 14-of-21 for 169 yards and one touchdown. Both teams had interceptions.
“We’re progressed a lot as a team,” Millard said. “It was nice to get to line up as a team, but we all know that we have a lot of work to do. It was a good spring, but we have a lot to get done this summer.”
In total, the West Virginia offense put up 420 yards in a losing effort. The defense pulled out a 41-33 victory.
Without the likes of Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey at receiver, it was sophomore Jordan Thompson who stepped up on Saturday. He caught six passes for 123 yards and three touchdowns.
“He had a good game last spring, too. He will go down in the history books as the greatest spring-game player of all-time,” said WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen. “Until he plays like that in a game, we’re going to call it like it is. I haven’t seen him play like that in a game yet. Until he does that in a game, we’re not going to talk about it.”
Junior college transfer Kevin White caught five passes for 72 yards and a big-time 46-yard score.
“We’ve got a long ways to go,” Holgorsen said. “The team we field in September is going to look so much different.”
The Mountaineers didn’t focus on the run as much on Saturday as it did for the most part this spring. Its running backs totaled 22 carries for 114 yards. They were led by running back Dustin Garrison, who had 51 yards.
WVU’s defense recorded two interceptions, six sacks and 11 tackles for loss. The Mountaineers were led in tackles by linebackers Shaq Petteway and Sean Walters who had five each.
“I never really like to talk about a practice before I watch the video, but I thought there were some good things,” he said. “I thought they executed fairly well, especially the first team.”
Kicker Josh Lambert was 2-of-4 on field goals. He made kicks of 39 and 47 yards and missed kicks from 41 from 48 yards.
The offense didn’t score in the first quarter.
The first touchdown for the offense came in the second quarter, as Childress found Thompson open over the middle of the field, and he ran for a 65-yard score.
Millard found Thompson in the back of the end zone for a 10-yard touchdown late in the second quarter.
Millard hooked up with White on a screen pass for a 46-yard touchdown in the middle of the third.
On the last play of the game, Millard found Thompson again for a 24-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion that would’ve tied the game at the time was no-good, as freshman running back Wendell Smallwood was tackled before he crossed the end zone.