Neal Brown: ‘Austin Kendall’s our starter’ at quarterback

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Trey Lowe will continue being utilized within West Virginia’s offense on a situational basis, but there is no question about which quarterback remains in charge of the show.

West Virginia coach Neal Brown reemphasized that junior Austin Kendall is the team’s starter moving forward this season.

“Austin Kendall’s our starter,” Brown said. “I thought he played well in the first half on Saturday. The second half, he did not perform as well as he needs to. He understands that. First half, he handled the noise around that game pretty well. It’s a unique situation, he has to go back and play his home team in their stadium.

“I thought he threw the ball really well. We had three, maybe four dropped passes in the first half. I thought he made really good decisions. The second half, his decision-making wasn’t as good. He missed on several deep throws we needed to hit to be competitive in that game. But he’s our starter. And that’s how we’ll move forward.”

Kendall was 13-for-22 for 128 yards and two touchdowns in the first half. He went just 2-for-9 for 74 yards in the second half, including a miss on a fourth-down swing pass that Leddie Brown could have walked into the end zone for a score.

“That’s going to haunt me for a couple days,” Kendall said after the game. “That’s just an easy throw. To see him run scot-free into the end zone without the ball in his hands is disappointing. That’s the little things I’ve got to fix. Because those can be big, game-changing plays in the long run.”

Brown said the Mountaineers will continue to use Lowe depending on opponent and situation.

“We’ve got to be more productive when we’re in those sets,” Brown said. “We had a couple clear runs where we didn’t get as many yards as we’d like to. I think Trey’s getting better. It was good to get him in the game. We’d have liked to use him a little more. He had one really nice run late in the game and he was able to get a completion, so that will help him from a confidence standpoint.

“It’s going to be week-to-week how much he’s involved.”

Notably, the Mountaineers included Jarret Doege on their Oklahoma travel roster — an unusual move for a team’s fourth-string quarterback. Doege is a possible candidate for playing time in up to four games this year, but Brown said his inclusion on the travel roster had more to do with long-term planning.

“It was important for him to go and be in that venue and get a feel for a Big 12 atmosphere at a high level,” Brown said. “We have aspirations that he could be a really good player for us. He’s going to have to perform in those venues if he wants to be a high-level quarterback.”

Brown is placing Doege in the same class as other players who are redshirting this season.

“Whether we’ll play him or not is to be determined,” Brown said. “But we will take advantage of the [redshirt] rule. It won’t necessarily just be the last four games of the season, especially in areas where we have some injuries. We will take advantage of that rule.”

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