MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Neal Brown knew early this week that Austin Kendall was not going to be the only quarterback that played on Saturday.
On Tuesday Brown announced that both junior Jarret Doege and freshman Trey Lowe III could see time against Texas Tech. Late in the third quarter, it looked like that may not happen, however. Through that point in the game, only Kendall had taken any snaps. Doege entered for the fourth quarter and finished out the rest of the game, eventually losing 38-17.
Kendall was not pulled from the game because he was playing poorly. In the three quarters he played, Kendall completed 26-of-43 passes for 355 yards, but only led the team on one touchdown drive and scored 10 points.
Late in the third quarter, Kendall threw an interception to TTU defender Demarcus Fields in the endzone. He and the offense walked off the field to a chorus of boos and scattered chants of ‘we want Doege’. That is when Brown made the switch.
“(Doege’s) got four games, I just wanted to get him reps,” Brown said. “I thought he did some good things.”
Doege redshirted this season and will be able to play in four games, with Texas Tech being his first. He finished the game 11-17 for 119 yards and a touchdown in just over one quarter of play. He led two drive into TTU’s redzone but turned the ball over on downs on the first before finding freshman running back Tony Mathis for a touchdown on the second.
Brown said he saw similarities between Doege and Kendall.
“The same things that plagued Jarret are the same things that plagued Austin,” Brown said. “We dropped the ball, we didn’t do a great job in protection.”
WVU receivers dropped seven passes on the day, some for Kendall and some for Doege. WVU receivers said they did not really notice a difference between the two.
“It was funny because, when we made the quarterback switch I didn’t even notice it,” senior George Campbell said. “As a team and as an offense, we’ve just got to come and play. The same way we would play with Austin is the same way we got to play with Jarret. We want to win and make plays so whatever quarterback is in, we’ve got to make the plays.”
“They’ve got similar release styles and I’ve practiced with both of them,” freshman Sam James said. “When (Doege) came in it was like, ‘whatever’…You’ve got to keep playing regardless of what happens. (Doege) came in, Austin made mistakes, whatever, you’ve just got to keep playing.”
James had a career day, making 14 receptions for 223 yards, but dropped several passes that, he thought, could have put him over 300 yards. Campbell caught three passes for 95 yards, but the first of Kendall’s interceptions came on a pass that hit off his arm and fell into a defender’s hands.
“If we do the little things right, we would’ve won that game,” James said. “It’s just attention to detail. Drops are a lack of focus.”
Whoever is playing quarterback for West Virginia, Brown made it clear that the rest of the offense needs to play better around them.
“I’ll say this, I wish quarterback was our problem. I wish quarterback was our problem because that’s an easy fix.”