Gold Blasts Blue 81-39 in Spring Game

West Virginia's rushing game wore down the Mountaineer defense as the offense exploded for 52 second-half points in an 81-39 win Saturday at the annual Gold-Blue game at Mountaineer Field.

It was an abrupt change from the last scrimmage, when the new odd stack defense dominated the offense in holding the unit to 14 points.

The offense (Gold) racked up 616 yards on 135 plays (4.6 yards per play) in the two hour scrimmage, which started with kicking, then moved to offense vs. defense. Both first and second teams were kept intact, and the first teams played each other.

WVU finished with an overtime drill starting at the 25-yard line.

The lack of a vertical passing game was still evident, as starting quarterback Rasheed Marshall's long completions came as a result of runs after the catch rather than downfield throws until later in the scrimmage when the defense gave ground.

"I don't think in a game like this that you look at the points," linebacker Grant Wiley, who finished with six tackles, including a sack and another hit for loss, said. "We're just worried about keeping them out of the end zone. We did that in the first half, then gave up some points later. You can't really tell how good either team is. You just look for players being in the right spot and executing, and I thought we did that pretty well."

The bulk of WVU's offensive load went to superback Avon Cobourne, who rushed for 67 yards on 12 carries. Backup Quincy Wilson routinely ran over defensive players and managed four receptions and 19 carries in a busy day.

In total, 11 players got carries, and 15 recorded receptions. Miquell Henderson, Marshall's favorite target throughout the spring, caught nine passes for 99 yards and a score. A.J. Nastasi had the long catch of the day, a 71-yarder off a bootleg for a touchdown.

Marshall completed 21 of 27 passes for 231 yards and two scores. He rushed 12 times for four yards, though the quarterbacks, wearing a black jersey, were not hit. The play was blown dead when defenders made contact, so the six sacks are inflated.

Backup signal caller Danny Embick completed 18 of 28 passes for 167 yards with one interception.

The Mountaineers were most successful, however, out of power formations using Cobourne.

Fullback Moe Fofana rushed for 16 yards and a score on five carries.

"Surprise, surprise, huh?," West Virginia head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "We're trying to use the fullback more, and we like Moe Fofana. We think he's a Big East fullback, and we want to use him."

West Virginia also worked on punting and field goals, though no returns were allowed.

The Mountaineers missed two extra points and four of the 10 field goals tried.

"It seemed like we could not make anything early, then we started to hit better," Rodriguez said. "I'd like to see Todd James get in there and Mark Fazzolari do the punting. If not, we'll have some battles there in the fall."

Offensive scoring was similar to a usual game with six points for a touchdown, one for a point after and three for a field goal. The offense was also given a point for a first down.

The defense was awarded three points for forcing a turnover, three points for forcing a three and out and two points for a drive stop or safety.

"I think we are a better team now than we were at the start of spring," Rodriguez said. "We are not close to being ready to play a game, but I'm confident that our players will work over the summer and come back in the fall ready to go."

Proceeds the scrimmage, which lasted two hours, benefited WVU Children's Hospital.


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