Recapping spring football and the 2022 Gold-Blue Game The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast

The 2022 Gold-Blue Game is in the books, bringing spring football to a close for WVU. On this edition of The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast, presented by Pritt & Spano, Nick Farrell and Anjelica Trinone share their takeaways from the spring game, including their assessment of the team’s quarterbacks and offensive coordinator Graham Harrell’s new scheme.  Subscribe on your preferred podcast platform to have future episodes delivered to you.

The end of the spring football season brings an early look at WVU football, a new Mountaineer Mascot and a renewed excitement for the fall.

Over 12,000 WVU fans flocked to Milan Puskar Stadium and more watched at home to get a sneak peek of the 2022 Mountaineer squad. The Gold squad, which consisted mainly of defensive starters and second-string offensive players, pulled off a 22-21 victory over the Blue team in the modified game, but there was much more to take away from the final scorelines.

Unforeseen Heroes

Although several of WVU’s top contributors from 2021 made appearances in the contest, the best performances in the spring game came from several lesser-known players.

Wide receiver Preston Fox tops this list, leading the game with 117 yards on five catches. That was good enough in the eyes of his coaching staff to earn him a scholarship.

Some of those catches came from Will “Goose” Crowder, one of the three quarterbacks in Brown’s spring rotation. Crowder took the field in the game’s opening drive and led the gold offense on a four-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. He added another touchdown to a wide-open Sam James of the Blue team later in the half.

New names also dominated the defensive stat sheet. Defensive back Aubrey Burks of the Gold team led the game with five tackles and an interception, and not far behind him was transfer linebacker Lee Kpogba with three solo stops.

The quarterback rotation performed

Six Mountaineers called the signals for either team during the game, and they all combined for 433 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Of course, three in particular — Crowder, Garrett Greene and Nicco Marchiol — garnered the most attention and shared the majority of snaps.

Marchiol flashed his dual-threat prowess throughout the game, scoring his first touchdown with his feet from the red zone. He finished with 26 yards on the ground on nine rushes, but also added 75 yards through the air.

Greene, also a dual-threat quarterback, faltered in his first drive. He completed his first two passes, including a 34-yard strike to Kaden Prather. The drive ended, however, when he came under pressure and threw an interception in the end zone.

The sophomore bounced back, though, and finished with 132 passing yards.

Of course, the quarterback conversation is much different now that JT Daniels is set to join the Mountaineers ahead of the fall — but in the meantime, Brown is comfortable with the three players he has duking it out in Morgantown.

Scouting the returners

The Blue team’s receiving duo of Sam James and Bryce Ford-Wheaton were tough to cover for the Golds, combining for 11 catches, 154 yards and a touchdown in the contest. Prather also made a nice grab on the opening drive for the 35-yard completion from Greene.

That trio is set to be the top three receivers for the Mountaineers, but Fox made a case for some extra targets in the spring.

Tony Mathis Jr., the presumptive No. 1 running back for the fall, carried the ball six times for 21 yards — but since the game wasn’t full-contact, it’s difficult to pull a fair assessment of the running back play.

WVU’s next trip on the gridiron is Sept. 1 at Pitt to open the 2022 season.