West Virginia spring game review
Spring game scores are always very deceiving because of quirky scoring systems. But one look at the scoreboard from West Virginia’s contest on Friday night — 83-17 — speaks to just how effective new coordinator Dana Holgorsen’s offense can be in Morgantown next fall.
Here are some notes from the Mountaineers’ spring-concluding contest, which was the best-attended in the Big East this year with an estimated crowd of 22,000.
ICONGeno Smith has taken well to Dana Holgorsen's Air Raid offense.
QB Geno Smith completed 26 of 37 passes for 388 yards and four touchdowns, methodically taking apart the team’s second-string defense. Stedman Bailey had scoring catches of 44 and 67 yards, and Tavon Austin caught a 38-yard pass for a touchdown. Even backup signal caller Paul Millard was effective, completing 18 of 30 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns. Holgorsen’s unit recorded 838 total yards on 104 plays, including a staggering 683 yards through the air.
Smith was impressive under center last season as a sophomore, stepping in and leading a veteran offense. He threw for 2,763 yards — a school record for a Mountaineer sophomore — and led the Big East in pass efficiency. On Friday night, he showed that he was very comfortable transitioning into the new Air Raid offense.
In the battle to assume the starting running back job following Noel Devine’s departure, rising sophomore Trey Johnson rushed for 57 yards and a score on nine carries. He also caught a 65-yard touchdown. Meanwhile, true freshman Vernard Roberts led all backs with 64 yards on 10 carries and also added five catches for 41 yards. This duo will continue to battle for reps in the fall.
However, Shawne Alston performed well while Devine was injured last season and was the leading candidate at the “A” back position heading into spring before missing the end of camp with a neck injury. While Alston had an up-and-down camp, Johnson, Roberts and Daquan Hargrett seemed to move up the depth chart. The 5-11, 219-pound Alston can run well between the tackles, but how often will he see the field with so much depth in the backfield?
Perhaps the one story going under the radar from Friday’s game, however, is the offense suffering a tough break when guard Josh Jenkins sprained his MCL and strained a knee ligament. He is expected to miss six to eight weeks while the MCL sprain heals, and it’s unknown whether he will need surgery on his knee cap.
Check out some of the game's highlights, courtesy of www.msnsportsnet.com.
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