Big Second Quarter Propels Blue Over Gold 27-13

Charles Hales hit University of Washington transfer Eddie Jackson for a 42-yard touchdown on 3rd down, and then made they key block on the first play of the next Blue drive that sprung rushing star Bryan Wright for a 70-yard touchdown run as the Blue team, after falling behind 10-0, scored three touchdowns in the second period on their way to a 27-13 win.

Hales definitely showed why the coaches are gaining confidence in their backup QB as he finished 13-19 for 136 yards. Hales suffered one interception, but added 33 yards rushing.

The first team offense moved the ball well in the first half, as Rasheed Marshall completed 14-20 passes for 121 yards one interception and a touchdown on a nice fade pass to Nathan Forse in the back right corner of the endzone that gave the Gold a temporary 10-0 lead.

The Gold opened the game with a nice drive capped off by a 40-yard field goal from Brad Cooper, who appears to have separated himself from the pack in the kicking competition. On the drive, Quincy Wilson ran for 15 yards and Marshall hit Forse for 27 yards on third down and eight.

Brian King, who started the game at cornerback, established himself early and often for the Blue defense with several hard hits.

Hales and Marshall both played for just over one half, and Quincy Wilson played two series for the Gold before Jason Colson, who finished the game with 55 yards on 11 carries, took over for what was essentially the first team offense.

Erick Phillips carried nine times for 34 yards starting for the Blue team as the Mountaineers displyaed tremendous depth at the superback position, in a game they played without the services of junior-to-be Hikee Johnson, and junior college transfer Kay Jay Harris, who is scheduled to become eligible in the fall.

At the wide receiver position, Eddie Jackson caught four passes for 55 yards for the Blue team, and Nathan Forse caught seven passes for 83 yards for the Gold. Jackson will have to sit out a year after transferring, but the Mountaineers, playing without injured Miquelle Henderson, and non-qualifiers Chris Henry and Brandon Myles, showed some versatility at wide receiver, throwing to no less than ten different players before the starting quarterbacks retired for the day.

Coach Rodriguez, commenting on the progress of his passing game said, "We feel pretty good about the development of our passing game. Once we get all the wide receivers healthy and out on the field, we feel pretty good about what we can do to take pressure off the running game."

Nathan Forse, from Uniontown, Pa, has used the injury to Henderson to prove to the coaches that he could be relied upon when the Mountaineers go into battle against Wisconsin on August 30. He was thrown to seven times, and caught all seven balls on a cloudy day in Morgantown. "I've been coming to West Virginia games since I was a little kid, and I just want to use this opportunity to show the coaches what I can do, and hopefully they will have confidence in me, and I can help this team win ballgames," said Forse.

"He can definitely be a playmaker," said QB Rasheed Marshall, in reference to Forse.

The Blue defense, led by most of the first team starting unit, did a nice job on the Gold offense, limiting the Gold to 189 yards in the first half, and only one touchdown and two field goals for the game.

Grant Wiley played two series, as Coach Rodriguez took the opportunity to let some other players play because "We know what those guys can do", referring to Wiley, Wilson and Brian King.

Fred Blueford had a sack for the defensive line, which is completely retooled after the losses of David Upchurch, Tim Love, Kelvin Dubouse and Jason Davis.

Shot of the Day:

Quincy Wilson steamrolled Brian King on a swing pass from Marshall on a third and ten right at the chains. Anthony Mims made the tackle as the crowd yelled in awe of Quincy's shot.

Shot of the day #2:

Charles Hales on the block that sprung Bryan Wright for his 70-yard cross-field scamper. Hales turned to throw a block on a blitzing Aaron Meckstroth, which resulted in both players sprawling on the turf as Wright juked five defenders on the way to the go-ahead score.

Play of the day

Wright's twisting and turning 70 yard touchdown run, his second such jaunt of the spring.

Play of the day #2

Charles Hales hit Eddie Jackson on third and eight on a wide receiver screen that Jackson took across the grain and outran everyone for 42 yards to the North endzone, to give the Blue their first score of the game.

Call of the day:

Resting Wiley and Wilson for three full quarters as the younger Mountaineers got their game faces on in front of a crowd, many for the first time.

Injury notes

Hikee Johnson, who missed practices earlier in the week, sat out the game. Scott Gyorko did not return after halftime after pinching a nerve, and quarterback Dwayne Thompson hurt a shoulder and saw only limited action.

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