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Game of Firsts: Young Mountaineers Score First Touchdowns in Old Gold and Blue

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Saturday’s dominant win over the Towson Tigers meant more to the Mountaineer football coaching staff than the score on the scoreboard. It was a chance to build morale, to get the ball in more players hands and to get the young and lesser experienced guys more time on the field in front of a crowd.

“We were able to sub about three-quarters the way into the second quarter, and we were able to play a lot of guys,” WVU Head Coach Neal Brown said following the 65-7 win. “There was probably some guys that showed up in that third and fourth quarter that put stuff on film that may warrant some more playing time.

“Just in general there is a lot of time and effort put into some guys that maybe aren’t marquee names that are developmental type guys, or maybe they are young guys in your program or maybe they are walk on guys that are kind of the glue. For them to get the opportunity to play, to play on that field in front of the crowd that is hugly important and I think that sometimes gets overlooked.”

All in all, the game saw all 4 quarterbacks on the roster play, each leading a drive that ended with a touchdown. Starter JT Daniels completed 16 of his 24 pass attempts for 174 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown to Kaden Prather. Backup Garrett Greene took over with 1:31 left in the second quarter. His time on the field ended with an 11 play, 84 yard possession, capped off with an 11-yard touchdown run by Greene himself.

In the fourth quarter, number three quarterback Will “Goose” Crowder threw his first Mountaineer touchdown to a sliding wide-receiver, Jeremiah Aaron. The 5-yard touchdown capped off a 13-play, 68-yard drive.

True freshman quarterback Nicco Marchiol finished the game for the Mountaineers center, throwing not only his first touchdown in the Old Gold and Blue but his first career, collegiate touchdown. Only the seventh play with the ball in his hands, Marchiol threw a 26-yard pass to Preston Fox in the back of the end zone.

“We had a plan quarterback wise. I am really, really pleased that we could get all four of those guys into the game,” Brown said of quarterback room. “We’ve been working with Nicco a lot in our developmental stuff. He’s got a ton of reps in the last really three weeks since we’ve opened the season up.”

Brown continued that it was the coaching staffs plan going into Saturday to play a lot of guys. On offense, Brown said in addition to the four quarterbacks, they went three deep at wide receiver and got all the running backs involved.

“Really excited … Preston Fox, that was a heck of a play, that he made on Nicco’s touchdown,” Brown said.  (We) wanted (the quarterbacks) to really run the offense, not just hand the ball we wanted to run the offense with them. We got all the running backs involved. Two 100-yard rushers which is a big deal. We were able to get Jaylen Anderson his first real work of his career. Treyvon Davis I think he played every down at tight end in the second half. O-line I think we played 12.

“And then on defense we played the 2 d-lines and the 3 d-lines the whole second half,” Brown continued. “Kaden Biser played a lot of snaps, and he continues to get better. We got Jasir Cox a lot of reps. Then those two young corners, Andrew Wilson-Lamp and Jacoby Spells, they played in the first quarter but they were able to play a lot.”

The Mountaineers hope to take this momentum into Thursday for the battle of the Black Diamond Trophy. The WVU versus Virginia Tech kick-off is set for 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

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