Offense wins annual spring game 52-31 over defense

Quarterback Mike White throws the ball during the Hilltoppers Red-White game on Saturday April 23, 2016 at L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green, Ky. Shaban Athuman/HERALD

John Reecer

On Saturday afternoon, the WKU football team took to the field at Smith Stadium for its annual Red vs. White Spring Game.

The offense, which was the Red team, still proved to be the team’s primary strength as it defeated the defense in a shootout by a score of 52-31 in front of a crowd of about 5,500 people.

“I think our offense is coming along,” redshirt senior quarterback Nelson Fishback said. “I think obviously with any spring game and practice, there is going to be ups and downs and things to learn from. It was cool to cut it loose and throw deep balls and stuff like that. I couldn’t really say any side really won because usually offense wins the spring game.”

Fishback was a part of the main attraction at Saturday’s spring game as he competed with redshirt sophomore Drew Eckels, graduate senior Tyler Ferguson and redshirt junior Mike White for the starting quarterback spot after the departure of former quarterback Brandon Doughty.

The group combined to complete 58 of 93 passes for 880 yards. They also managed to throw five touchdowns while only compiling two interceptions on the day.

However, there were standout performances from the group despite the overall positive play of the four players.

Eckels had the best day of the four as he completed 19 out of 24 passes, a 79.2 completion percentage, for 322 yards with three touchdowns and only one interception.

“We put up a lot of numbers today,” Eckels said. “When your number is called, you have to get in there and do your part. That’s great to know that when you get in there, you have to do everything you can to provide for the team.”

Ferguson was not too far behind Eckels as the transfer from Louisville completed 17 of his 26 passes for 223 yards.

Fishback got the start for the offense; however, he performed the worst statistically as he only completed 40 percent of his passes despite passing for 209 yards.

White had a respectable game as he completed 60 percent of his passes for 125 yards while adding a touchdown and a interception.

“I think we make some big plays up the field, which is good,” Head Coach Jeff Brohm said of the quarterback competition. “We did have two interceptions, which we don’t want to happen. It’s hard for me to tell right now. They all did good things; it’s a close race. I’m going to have to go back and look at this spring game and evaluate more.”

While a lot of attention was given to the quarterbacks, the wide receivers — particularly the younger players — had a strong showing in the game.

Redshirt sophomore wide receiver Will Bush had the most surprising day as the formerly little-used receiver caught eight balls for 169 yards. He also added two touchdowns on the day.

Redshirt freshman Lucky Jackson also displayed his talent in the game as the Lexington native caught seven balls for 138 yards.

“We’re pretty good,” Bush said. “We came out and tried to put on a show for the fans and tried to get better. We are all getting better together.”

Overall, while the quarterback battle was definitely not settled in the spring game, the four candidates and the rest of the Hilltoppers played well enough to ease many worries some fans might have had.

“I liked today,” Brohm said. “A lot of our guys competed and got better. The good thing is that I just thought that we got better. Without question, there is room to improve, but I do like the way the guys competed.”