Same team, new shine: Red Team rolls 58-10 in Red and White Game

Sophomore wide receiver Taywan Taylor (2) catches a pass through coverage by redshirt sophomore defensive back Branden Leston (45) 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)

Kyle Williams

More often than not, the Red and White game is an opportunity for Topper fans to see the new aspects of the WKU football team. But on Saturday, fans saw a polished version of last year’s product.

WKU displayed a high-powered offensive attack with 831 yards of total offense, 642 coming through the air as the Red team defeated the White 58-10 in the Toppers’ annual spring game.

The same Topper offense that set a school record for total yards (5,502) and yards per game (458.5) is the same one that, according to redshirt senior quarterback Brandon Doughty, could be one of the best in the nation this fall.

“I think our offense is one of the best in the conference and in the NCAA,” Doughty said. “That’s just how I feel. That’s how we have to feel. I think we’re making strides in the right direction and we just have to keep working at it.”

Doughty completed 21 of 35 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns in just the first half. Junior quarterback Nelson Fishback followed suit, completing 14 of 21 passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns with another one the ground.

“I think (Doughty) had a very good spring,” Head Coach Jeff Brohm said. “He finished it off pretty well today. He had a couple moments where I didn’t like him not stepping into the ball during the very first series or two. Once we got that figured out. I think from there he was sharp, efficient, and made good plays…He has to be a leader for us.”

While questions on offense are answered, much isn’t the same for the defense looking to replace seven starters including all of last year’s starting linebackers.

The White defense held its ground early in the game, keeping the Red team offense to a Garrett Schwettman 39-yard field goal on its opening drive before the offense opened up.

“We have some young guys, but we’ve played a lot of guys who got a ton of reps this spring,” Brohm said. “I think once we get a few key guys back who we’re missing now we’ll be a little better. This was a very base, vanilla defense and offensive plan that we had. Coach (Nick) Holt does a great job scheming, our players know the system, and we’re going to attack on defense.”

The White team went three-and-out on its first possession, but answered on the following drive with a 51-yard touchdown pass from Fishback to redshirt freshman receiver Kylen Towner.

The exciting passing display continued when Doughty launched a 70-yard bomb to sophomore receiver Taywan Taylor, extending the Red team’s lead to 17-7.

Taylor had scoring grabs of 70 and 33 yards and finished with seven receptions for 175 yards.

Doughty later found redshirt senior fullback Demetrius Coley in the end zone on a rollout before being intercepted two possessions later by redshirt sophomore linebacker Branden Leston off a tipped ball.

“We had some guys make plays on both sides of the ball, which is what we need,” Brohm said. “We’ve developed depth at some positions, which I think we need. Overall, I thought it was a good end to our spring.”

That newfound depth allowed junior running back Leon Allen to rest during the scrimmage. Allen, who will carry the workload left by former all-purpose back Antonio Andrews, rushed nine times for 53 yards in just 15 minutes on the field.

Instead, the work on Saturday went to sophomore Anthony Wales, who danced his way to a 26-yard touchdown after Doughty’s interception to give the Red team a 31-10 lead. The Red team would extend that lead to 38-10 on a six-yard touchdown reception from senior receiver Willie McNeal right before halftime.

Fishback assumed the quarterbacking duties for the Red team in the second half, which was played with a running game clock. Fishback scored on a two-yard run and twice through the air. His last touchdown for 33 yards to Taylor occurred as the clock hit zero to mark a 58-10 final score.

The Toppers have a noticeably increased sense of relaxation under Brohm in comparison to last season and according to senior linebacker Terran Williams, it showed during the spring game.

“He’s much more loose,” Williams said. “You’re more comfortable. You play better. I’m not saying (Bobby) Petrino was a bad coach because he was a great coach, but with coach Brohm being more of a player type coach, you play more comfortable out there. It’s a better vibe out there.”