On a rain-soaked field, playing in cool, misting conditions, new S&T football head coach Tyler Fenwick wasn't sure what to expect when his Miners took to Allgood-Bailey Stadium Saturday afternoon for the annual S&T Spring Game.
But the new coach was pleasantly surprised that the event more resembled a legitimate game than the controlled scrimmage it was.
"I thought the structure of it was good," said Fenwick, who was hired to replace David Brown as Miner head coach in March. "It was good in getting plays and substitutes in and out. There were no signal mess-ups or delay of game penalties.
"Obviously things have got to get better; we'll watch film and find the mistakes. But overall it was good."
It was a situational scrimmage much of the time and no scoring was kept. Instead it was basically the Miner young offense taking on the more experienced S&T defensive unit in what Fenwick called a "glorified practice."
As expected, the S&T defense had plenty of highlights, including allowing just one net rushing yard on 35 attempts and making four interceptions, the most impressive coming from 6-4, 240-pound junior lineman Dan Mauszycki, who picked off a shovel pass and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown.
Although there were quick whistles when QBs were about to take big hits, the defense was credited for six sacks for 43 yards.
However the Miner offense certainly had its moments as well despite the fact that the four quarterbacks (three freshmen, one sophomore) who alternated in on Saturday had never taken a snap in a game for S&T.
Freshman signal-caller Peter Simpson passed for 101 yards Saturday, freshman Logan Fitch 90 yards, freshman Jake Fortin 74 yards and sophomore transfer (from Missouri Valley College) Kyle Livengood 52 yards.
Junior wideout Nick Taylor had a big game, with six receptions for 135 yards and two touchdowns, while freshman receiver Jaren Underwood had six catches for 82 yards and a TD.
S&T had little success rushing, as freshman back Tyler Dawidowski led the way with just 23 yards on six attempts.
"We don't have a lot of depth at certain positions," Fenwick said. "But a couple of our receivers made nice catches. And I was really pleased with the defense; they play fast and with a high motor."
The scrimmage ended the S&T spring football drills. The squad takes the field again in August for the start of the 2013 preseason practice.
The Miners, 10-1 in 2012, are scheduled to open the 2013 campaign by hosting Chadron State College at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 5.
Here are statistics provided by the S&T Sports Information Department:
Rushing: Tyler Dawidowski 6 for 23, Zenel Hudson 7 for 12, Scott Hendricks 3 for 12, Anthony Moore 4 for 0, David Hughes 4 for 4, Logan Fitch 1 for minus 2, Peter Simpson 1 for minus 7, Jake Fortin 4 for minus 17, Kyle Livengood 5 for minus 24.
Page 2 of 2 - Passing: Peter Simpson 5-9-0-101, Logan Fitch 12-18-2-90, Jake Fortin 7-11-2-74, Kyle Livengood 6-7-0-52.
Receiving: Nick Taylor 6-135 (2 TD), Jaren Underwood 6-82 (1 TD), Marc-Alan Tucker 5-27, Justin Lineback 2-19, Tyler Dawidowski 2-14, Ben Matthews 2-7, Anthony Moore 2-0, Zenel Hudson 1-19, Cody Burgess 1-8, Dustin Schindler 1-4, Chris Kennard 1-2.
Interceptions: Dan Mauszycki 1-68, Chris Horn 1-6, Khalan King 1-0, Dawan Ferguson 1-0.
Rushes-Net Yards: 35-1
Plays-Total Yards: 80-318
First Downs: 19 (5 rushing, 12 passing, 2 penalty)
Penalties: Offense 1-5, Defense 2-26
Quarterback Sacks: 6-43