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Devine stars in WVU spring game

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia running back Noel Devine rushed for 73 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries in the first half Friday night, as the Blue team beat the Gold team, 38-0, at the Mountaineers' annual spring game.

Devine did not carry the ball in the second half, as the Mountaineers' allowed the rest of their running backs to carry the ball.

"I'm never satisfied. There's always room for improvement," Devine said. "But I think this spring I came a long way in terms of improving my game."

The Blue team was filled with WVU's starters and key reserves. The Gold team featured mainly the Mountaineers' second and third-string players.

West Virginia played its spring game on a Friday night for the first time to increase interest. In the past, WVU's spring game was held earlier in the year and on a Saturday afternoon.

The announced attendance of 21,029 was the largest in the Bill Stewart era. It was also the largest crowd in the Big East this year.

"Night games are crazy here, and it felt like a night game," said wide receiver Jock Sanders, who had eight catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. "It was nice to see all the fans out there tonight."

With projected starting quarterback Geno Smith held out of the game for precautionary reasons after breaking a bone in his foot prior to spring practice, quarterback Coley White took all quarterback snaps in the game.

He completed 22 of 36 passes for 189 and three touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions.

"It went pretty well," White said. "Getting all the reps throughout practice made me feel comfortable tonight."

White could to move to slot receiver when Smith returns to health. But Stewart said he would like to keep White in the quarterback situation if possible, because the coach is unsure how incoming freshmen Barry Brunetti and Jeremy Johnson will take to the offensive system.

"Coley White stepped up and made plays in our offense. He's been written off, he's been told he's not going to be the guy," Stewart said. "A lot of people said that but Bill Stewart.

"It all starts at quarterback. We will be as good as our quarterback."

Running back Shawne Alston scored the first touchdown on a two-yard run. He had 51 yards in the game.

After that, WVU's field goal kicker Corey Smith hit a 38-yard field goal. On the team's next possession, Devine had a 7-yard touchdown run.

In the second half, White found receiver Stedman Bailey for a 44-yard completion for a touchdown. It was the longest play in the scrimmage.

On the first drive of the fourth quarter, White found Sanders for an 18-yard touchdown. With 15 seconds to go in the game, White found Bailey for a 2-yard touchdown.

Bailey finished with three catches for 52 yards and two touchdowns.

"I've been waiting to prove myself, and tonight I had my opportunity," Bailey said. "I feel like I made a step in the right direction, but I still have a lot to improve on."

Receiver Tavon Austin caught just one pass for 17 yards but also had two carries for 22 yards.

The Blue defense held the Gold offense to 47 total yards.

"Our defense gelled well," Stewart said.

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