Tyrell Pigrome’s first game as a Hilltopper wasn’t very eventful. In fact, he didn’t throw a pass until halfway through the first quarter for an incomplete pass to Jahcour Pearson due to miscommunication.
But we got a little glimpse of what he can do on a 50-yard throw to Pearson that ended up in a fumble, giving the Cardinals the possession.
At times, the ball came out of his hands wobbly, and he had a few inaccurate passes, but I’m going to blame that on the rainy conditions. The offense couldn’t go anywhere for the most part, but it wasn’t due to Pigrome’s play.
At halftime, he was 4-8 for 70 yards and led the team in rushing with five carries for 33 yards. They had 120 yards total for the half.
For the past few years, the Hilltoppers have gone through early season struggles, which is expected especially during this season and the circumstances we are under.
In the first three quarters, WKU’s offense was its special teams as their play gave the Hilltoppers the ball inside of Louisville’s 5-yard line on two occasions, making it easy to run it in.
There were many problems on both sides of the ball, but make no mistake, this game isn’t on Pigrome.
An offensive line that is supposed to be good didn’t really give him any time in the pocket, making him run for his life for most of the game. The run game wasn’t established, and there were multiple drops that would have led to more points on the board.
He looked comfortable in the pocket, when he had time and knew when to escape when needed, providing multiple opportunities for the offense that they just couldn’t capitalize on. If anything he was a bright spot of the night along with the special teams play.
It took until halfway through the fourth quarter for the offense to change and basically turn Pigrome into Lamar Jackson in the Ravens offense with designed runs multiple plays in a row. It opened up the field more leading to Pigrome to throw his first touchdown of the season to Mitchell Tinsley.
That’s how this offense will be successful with him in the backfield; that’s when he played his best. WKU’s offense will for sure be better next week in their home opener against Liberty, who hasn’t played a game yet and will likely be going through the first game woes like WKU did.
Pigrome finished the game going 10-23 for 129 yards and a TD while rushing for 68 yards in 17 carries.
“I don’t think there was anything he did that hurt us personally,” head coach Tyson Helton said. “I think the scenarios we put ourselves in is what hurt us, it wasn’t the quarterback... and I have to be better as an offensive coach, I have to help him out better.”
This will likely be WKU’s worst performances on both sides of the ball all season. Let’s not forget that Jaquez Sloan transferred at the beginning of the week right before their first game, while he was expected to help carry the load on the receiving end. He was third on the team in catches last season and was supposed to be a top three guy again for the Hilltoppers.
It’s hard to fully adjust when something like that gets thrown at you while you’re trying to prepare for a game.
In a game full of negatives, it was nice to see WKU close the fourth quarter out strong with some actual offense, and as the season goes along, Pigrome will prove to be the guy we all want him to be.
Men’s basketball beat reporter and sports columnist Kaden Gaylord can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Kaden on Twitter at @_KLG3