Comfortably Confident: WKU offense opens up in Red and White Game

Junior running back Leon Allen (33) takes a handoff from redshirt senior quarterback Brandon Doughty (12) during the Red and White Spring Game Saturday, April 19, 2014, at Houchens Industries – L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green, Ky. (Mike Clark/HERALD)

Elliott Pratt

Former all-purpose running back Antonio Andrews was on the field Saturday for Western Kentucky’s spring game, but not in uniform. He was one of 14 seniors honored at halftime during the annual Red and White game.

First-year coach Jeff Brohm put to rest any questions about who would replace the former two time All-American running back in the WKU offense.

Andrews’ successor, Leon Allen, had nine carries for 53 yards and two catches for 22 yards while only playing 15 minutes for the Red Team, which defeated the White 58-10 in WKU’s spring game Saturday.

Allen was accompanied by five other running backs as those who look to potentially provide a breather for the six-foot, 235-pound junior in the team’s inaugural year in Conference USA.

Sophomore Anthony Wales scored on a 26 yard run to go with his 43 yards on seven carries for the Red team while sophomore Darmontre Warr added eight carries for 43 yards for the White team.

“I thought Leon did a good job, ran strong and ran efficient,” Brohm said. “We didn’t want to give him too much work and lose him for the rest of the summer. He did a really good job. He had a great spring and worked as hard as he’s ever worked. I think he’s ready to take the baton and try to carry the torch that Antonio had the past few years.”

What was not in question before WKU’s spring game was the offense’s ability to put up high numbers. Brohm took over the Hilltoppers in January just two days removed from Bobby Petrino returning to the Louisville job after spending one season with WKU.

In total, WKU registered 831 yards of total offense, including 642 through the air.

Returning starting QB Brandon Doughty completed 21 of 34 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns in only one half of play. Nelson Fishback took over the Red Team in the second half, totaling 205 yards on 14 of 21 attempts for three touchdowns and another on the ground.

“I’m perfecting this offense,” Doughty said, who set four individual single-season passing records in 2013. “This game is definitely slowing down and we’re definitely making some strides in the right direction.”

Taywan Taylor led all receivers with seven receptions for 175 yards and touchdown catches of 70 and 33 yards. Junior college transfers Jared Dangerfield and Antwane Grant add an “element” the Hilltoppers that have lacked – “size and strength”.

Grant had touchdown catches of 42 and 3 yards in his spring debut while Dangerfield had seven catches for 106 yards.

“We showed our offense has big-play ability,” Dangerfield said. “We’re balanced, we ran the ball well, threw the ball well, so that’s what we’re going to do this season. I think it can be one of the best in the conference and in the country. We’re going to shock a lot of people this year. We’re going to make big noise.”