Gold Edges Blue in Gold-Blue Game

  • By John Antonik
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  • April 12, 2014 03:06 PM
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Mario Alford returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown during Saturday's Gold-Blue Game at Milan Puskar Stadium. The Gold defeated the Blue 37-27.
All-Pro Photography/Dale Sparks photo
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Paul Millard completed 14 of 19 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Gold team to a 37-27 victory over the Blue in the Gold-Blue Spring Game Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium.
The defense was awarded points based on stops, turnovers, touchdowns and safeties.
Logan Moore completed 10 of 21 passes for 109 yards while junior college transfer Skyler Howard’s final line included nine completions in 13 attempts for 70 yards and one score.
All three quarterbacks engineered scoring drives. Two more quarterbacks will be added to the mix when Clint Trickett is cleared following off-season shoulder surgery and William Crest arrives sometime this summer.
“We got what we needed to get done today,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “I thought the tempo was good. The first team defense I think played excellent and then we started to take a lot of those guys out, and once we started taking those guys out, we moved the ball offensively.”
Josh Lambert kicked three field goals, including one from 53 yards that would have easily been good from 60.
There were five scoring drives of 62 yards or longer and four scoring drives lasting 10 plays or more and the offense didn't turn the ball over in 95 total plays for the scrimmage.
Mario Alford got the scrimmage started with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Last year, the Mountaineers failed to produce a touchdown in the return game and their longest kickoff return was 43 yards by Alford.
Millard’s TD hookups covered 6 yards to Kevin White and 1 yard to Elijah Wellman, while Howard hit Daikiel Shorts for a 6-yard scoring pass.
West Virginia quarterbacks combined to complete 33 of 53 passes for 308 yards and three touchdowns.
White led all receivers with five catches for 42 yards. Jordan Thompson had four catches for 57 yards, including the longest offensive play of the scrimmage when he took a Millard screen pass 42 yards before Ricky Rumph made a touchdown-saving tackle.
Moore had the longest run of the scrimmage, going 28 yards during a scramble that was aided by an impressive peal-back block by Andrew Buie.
Dustin Garrison led all ball carriers with 47 yards on 10 carries. Wendell Smallwood had 45 yards on 10 totes, while Pitt transfer Rushel Shell had 37 yards on eight attempts.
Mountaineer running backs combined to rush for 175 yards on 42 attempts.
Defensively, Justin Arndt was credited with a scrimmage-best seven tackles and sacks were credited to Houstin Syvertson, KJ Dillon with half-sacks given to Darrien Howard and Edward Muldrow.
Holgorsen spent today’s scrimmage standing behind the quarterbacks and he permitted the quarterbacks to be tackled by the defense.
“I thought the guys played hard and it was a successful spring,” said Holgorsen. “I think we got somewhere around 850 snaps that we filmed and will make all of the cutups and will be able to look through those things all summer.”
An estimated crowd of 10,000 attended today’s game.
Gold-Blue Game Notebook:
- This was clearly one of the nicest days we’ve had for a spring football game that I can recall. Not only was it sunny, it was also very warm with game-time temperatures approaching the mid-70s.
- The uniform choices for today’s game: blue helmet, white jersey and blue pants and gold helmet, blue jersey and gold pants.
- The Iron Mountaineer Award winners, presented by the WVU strength and conditioning staff for the players’ work in the winter conditioning program, were defensive back Daryl Worley, offensive lineman Mark Glowinski and tight end Cody Clay.
Senior Michael Calicchio was this year’s winner of the Tommy Nickolich Award, presented by the Blue & Gold News to recognize West Virginia’s top walk-on player.
- West Virginia had an A-list of former players at this year’s spring game, including New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith, St. Louis Rams wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey, Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Don Barclay, Washington Redskins nose tackle Chris Neild and defensive end Bruce Irvin of the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks.
Some of the players back on campus also took part in the Chris Gray Memorial Golf Tournament on Friday afternoon. The former Mountaineer quarterback was killed in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001.
- Those in the press box were handed a reminder of what’s on the horizon for the Mountaineers on Aug. 30 when West Virginia opens the 2014 campaign in Atlanta against Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.
The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game provided some information and some food for members of the working media.
According to information provided in the handout, the historical average team payout of $4.3 million for the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is higher than more than 20 bowl games.
Teams ranked No. 1, 5, 7, 9, 14, 16, 18, 19, 24 and 25 have played in the game and Alabama make another ranked team. The Crimson Tide will likely be ranked in the top 5 in the preseason polls.
There is actually another Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game taking place on Thursday, Aug. 28, when Ole Miss and Boise State hook up on ESPN.
The West Virginia-Alabama game will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. and will be televised on ABC.
- Chick-fil-A tickets are available right now for Mountaineer Athletic Club members and football season ticket holders. The priority deadline to purchase WVU football season tickets is May 15, and information on the general public sale of tickets for the Alabama game should be available in late May.

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