The fourth ranked offense in the nation a season ago went head-to-head with the 120th ranked defense (also last season) at the annual Red vs White game at L.T. Smith Stadium Saturday.
The Red squad, who was made up of all offensive players, pulled away with the 52-40 victory, but stellar play by the 1st team defense and shown improvement on both sides of the ball gave Head Coach Jeff Brohm and the WKU football team several positives to end the spring football season.
“I think our guys worked hard, came out, had some enthusiasm and played hard,” Brohm said. “We got some things accomplished this spring. I think we got better on the defensive side of the ball, which is good to see. Our guys are more experienced, we are doing a better job coaching and putting them in better positions to succeed and our guys are responding. I like some of the things we did and we have to build upon that.”
The WKU defense, the White squad, made a statement early stopping the offense on the first three drives of the first half. They went on to total two turnovers, three defensive stops, one turnover on downs and one three-and-out in the first nine drives, taking a 17-7 lead early in the first half.
Senior Quarterback Brandon Doughty would find his groove on the fourth drive of the game hooking up with redshirt-senior Jared Dangerfield for a 34-yard gain and on the same drive, a 44-yard touchdown pass to redshirt-senior tight end Tyler Higbee. Doughty also punched in a one yard touchdown, a QB sneak in the first half to pull the Red team to a 17-14 deficit.
In total, their were 72 points scored in the first half as the Red team led going into the halftime festivities, 45-27. The offense, after struggling going the length of the field, began the final six drives of the half on the White team’s 30-yard line, in which they scored in five of those drives.
“I’m really excited about what they (defense) are doing,” Doughty said. “How they’re moving, how they’re communicating, it’s unbelievable. So I’m excited for them.”
“We came to play,” senior defensive lineman Jonatvious Morris said. “We had a good day, we were jumping on both sides of the ball. Little arguments, all out of fun, I loved it.”
The defense began the second half as well as they started the first, scoring eight unanswered points which included two three-and-outs on the first two drives of the half. Sophomore wide receiver Narcarius Fant and freshman running back Marquez Trigg showed off as some of WKU’s younger talent this season helping the offense respond on the fourth drive of the half.
Redshirt-freshman Quarterback Drew Eckles found Fant for a 14-yard touchdown pass to put the Red team up 52-35. After the drive, a interception ended the 2015 spring game, the final scoring rounding out to 52-40.
The game marked the end of spring football on the hill. The last five weeks of practice and strength conditioning led to Saturday’s game. The first action for WKU football this year was met with a sizable crowd, one that the coaches said they were very grateful to have.
“I thought it was a great crowd,” Brohm said. “They were into the game and we enjoyed having them here. We love the support they have here and it’s up to us to go out there and put a good product on the field and to work our tails off to try and win games and a championship. There is a lot of work ahead of us but to have the fans here, that’s what it’s all about.”