View Full Version : Haddix Leads WKU Offense To Three Second-Quarter Touchdowns In Final Scrimmage

August 25th, 2006, 08:50 AM
Bowling Green, Ky. — Western Kentucky University quarterback Justin Haddix has pleased the coaching staff with his performance and the decisions he has made throughout preseason camp. Following Thursday’s final scrimmage at L.T. Smith Stadium/Jimmy Feix Field, there should be no reason for that evaluation to change.
Haddix threw for 163 yards and two touchdowns — completing 13-of-20 pass attempts — as the offense piled up 245 yards through the air en route to recording five scores.

“Justin really looks smooth and in complete control of what he is doing,” said WKU head coach David Elson. “He’s a coach on the field for us — I think you can have something special when the players on the field are able to almost read your mind as far as what you want, and Justin can do that.

“There’s no question that Justin’s performance in camp has helped us. You’re always concerned any time the offense gains a yard, but the better our offense is during the camp then the better our defense will be during the season. That’s the way we have approached it.”

K.J. Black was 3-of-5 passing for 44 yards and Brandon C. Smith added 38 yards while connecting on 2-of-3 attempts.

Haddix led the first-team offense on three scoring drives in the second quarter, beginning with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jessie Quinn on the first play of the period to cap an 11-play, 70-yard march. He completed 4-of-5 passes on the possession for 58 yards, hitting Curtis Hamilton twice — that included a 28-yard gain down the right sideline with the offense facing 3rd-and-11 from its own 40-yard line.

The first-team offense took over on the defense’s 46-yard line to begin its next possession, which culminated with a Tyrell Hayden 3-yard touchdown run on 3rd-and-goal. Hayden rushed for 15 yards on the drive, while Haddix completed an 18-yard pass to Jake Gaebler and also scrambled 13 yards for a first down.

With just over two minutes remaining in the second period, Haddix led the offense down the field until he found Gaebler for a 17-yard scoring completion 18 seconds before the break. He accounted for all 86 yards of the 10-play possession that began on the 14-yard line, hitting 6-of-8 attempts for 82 yards while adding a 4-yard carry. Gaebler accounted for half of the completions and 40 yards receiving on the drive.

“I thought the two-minute drill was really good for us,” Elson said. “It revealed some things on defense that we can do better.”

Gaebler had five catches for 95 yards to pace the receiving corps, as Hamilton caught four passes for 57 yards and Kareem Garibaldi added four receptions for 46 yards. Quinn collected 42 yards on a pair of catches.

The defense fared much better against the run, though, allowing 84 yards on 47 attempts. Darvis McBride and Clay Stephens posted six stops each to pace WKU, while Rashad Etheridge added five stops. Both Blake Boyd and Ross Dickens were credited with both a sack and a tackle for loss to help the defense record nine stops behind the line of scrimmage.

The unit also caused a pair of fumbles. Orlando Misaalefua’s hit on Hayden knocked the ball loose as Brandon Mason picked it up and returned it 69 yards for a score in the second period. Jon Hedges also recovered a Garibaldi fumble in the second half.

“I think we kept it simple today, that was the key,” Elson said. “No matter what time of year it is, when we get to game day it has to be second nature for our guys. We have to be able to turn them loose and not put so much on them that they are thinking and become hesitant. We have proven that when we have a clear mind, we can be a pretty good defensive football team.”

The day ended with Black leading the third-team offense on a pair of touchdown marches that he ended with runs from 7 and 3 yards out. He moved the group 58 yards in 10 plays for the first score, hitting Garibaldi twice for 27 yards. The second possession — which was aided by a pair of personal foul calls — concluded with Black’s 3-yard bootleg to the left after Ronnie Letcher’s 11-yard gain gave the offense 1st-and-goal from the 8-yard line.

Hayden’s 50 yards on 15 carries led the Toppers’ running backs, while Letcher gained 31 yards on nine attempts and Philip Bates rushed nine times for another 21 yards.

“We approached it the way that I wanted to, our guys came out with a businesslike attitude — I thought we were focused,” said Elson. “It’s always tough when you go against each other and you’re on the same sideline. Early on the offense struggled, but they got in a groove. It’s a tough measuring stick because we’re not tackling Lerron [Moore].”

The Hilltoppers open the regular season Saturday, Sept. 2, with an 11:30 p.m. (CDT) start at I-A Georgia, with the game televised regionally by Lincoln Financial Sports.