MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — As West Virginia enjoyed a 40-point cushion on Towson late in the third quarter, the two-part question became rather evident:
When would Clint Trickett take a seat? And who would take his place?
Then on came true freshman William Crest and off came the redshirt.
The four-star recruit played four eventful series, fumbling away the first before leading West Virginia on two touchdown drives. One of those culminated in Crest taking a read-option keeper 4 yards for his first college score.
After the 54-0 victory, coach Dana Holgorsen discussed his reasoning for inserting Crest and suggested the backup’s role could expand with continued development.
“I made the decision probably early in the week that if we had an opportunity he was going to be the next guy in,” Holgorsen said. “He started understanding things better, so I thought it was his time to go and we put him in there.”
Trickett has been proficient in back-to-back games, including a 35-of-40 passing night Saturday for 345 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Paul Millard, after being regarded as the backup throughout preseason camp, could be in line for a redshirt if he wants to return for a fifth season in 2015.
Crest finished 3-of-4 passing for 7 yards. His first dropback on second-and-14 from the Towson 21 unraveled with a blindside sack by Ryan Delair and a fumble.
Trickett was quick to greet Crest after the turnover.
“I want him to do so well, you don’t even know,” Trickett said. “He got a little flustered there when he fumbled, but I just told him to put two hands on the ball. Then he came back and had a touchdown run and did some good things. I was in his ear the whole time. I’m proud of him.”
Holgorsen characterized Crest as calm after the fumble, a lesson in ball security that came at the best possible time with the game long out of reach.
Crest carried five times for 27 yards and appeared to make sound reads on inside handoffs to Andrew Buie that went for 13, 16 and 26 yards.
“He made some really good decision of the run-game stuff that we did,” Holgorsen said. “Obviously he brings a different dynamic to the game. … If he continues to progress like he did the last two weeks, then there’s going to be a role for him moving forward.”
Trickett’s takeout: After completing 24-of-27 first-half passes and helping WVU to a 31-0 lead, Trickett remained in the game for two full series and part of another during the third quarter.
“There were a couple plays we hadn’t called that were on our plan, so we wanted to go out and put those plays on tape,” said offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson.