Tyler Vander Waal’s first pass of the day went for a touchdown, and he didn’t let up from there, throwing for three touchdowns, highlighting Saturday’s Joe Delaney Bowl at Turpin Stadium.
Vander Waal, a transfer from Idaho State, wowed the crowd on his first pass of the scrimmage, completing a 76-yard touchdown to Myles Kitt-Denton on the second play from scrimmage.
The big play set the tone for the game, as Vander Waal’s purple team won 24-0 over the white team.
It was the first of three touchdowns for transfer quarterback, throwing for 239 yards.
Being in his third school, he is used to the transition, and has thrived in brief time at NSU thus far.
“I’ve felt really comfortable in this offense,” Vander Waal said. “When I walked in here for my visit, I immediately felt like family here. The coaches made me feel at home in this offense and I love what we do schematically.”
Both his first and last passes found his receivers for long touchdowns, as the quarterback threw a 60-yard touchdown to Ke’Nard King down the left side to finish the day.
“This shows everybody that we have an explosive offense,” King said. “We have an explosive set of four wide receivers, and everybody is a speedster and that doesn’t even take into account the explosive running game.”
King, a junior from Houston, showed chemistry with his new quarterback, hauling in six receptions for 108 yards and two scores.
“Our chemistry is a credit to a lot of the work we put in outside of practice,” Vander Waal said. “When I got here in January, a lot of the receivers were texting me to go to the field to run some routes.
“I know where they are going to be when a play is called and we’ve built that trust.”
Following the torrid offensive start, the defenses settled in a bit. The purple defense began the scrimmage with three consecutive three-and-outs, surrendering just seven total yards in those nine plays.
Vander Waal’s purple team offense was lethal, especially in the first half, as his team scored 17 points on its first four possessions to take control early.
“In the first half, we were able to get a couple good drives together,” head coach Brad Laird said. “We were able to run the football and you saw some big plays down the field. The receivers made big plays and I thought the running backs ran hard with the purple group.
“Up front, what we have worked on and will continue to work on with our offensive line, is having a clean pocket. I thought we had a pretty clean pocket today except for a few times.”
Vander Waal led the purple for a field goal on the third possession to open up the lead. Following a pair of Scooter Adams runs netted them 10 yards, Vander Waal went to the air and found Travon Jones down the middle for 26 yards. It set up a 37-yard field goal from redshirt freshman kicker Evan Kern.
On his fourth drive, Vander Waal connected with Jaheim Walters for a 40-yard grab, his lone reception of the contest. Seven plays later, Vander Waal was flushed out of the pocket and found King in the end zone for his first of two scoring grabs.
Laird wanted balance and he received just that, as Kolbe Burrell (63) and Kennieth Lacy (51) each rushed for more than 50 yards. Lacy, who suited up for both teams, recorded his yards on just six totes.
Duce Hart rushed for 41 and Adams gained 32.
“Those guys have done a great job of running downhill and making the tough yardage when things aren’t there,” Laird said. “That is big because we weren’t able to do that consistently last year and knew we had to get better at it.”
The white team’s best sustained drive of the game was helped in part by Hart, as he ran four times for 26 yards as they moved to the purple’s 31-yard line before turning it over on downs when Hart was gobbled up after a reception on 4th-and-2 for a loss of one.
Chase Newman led the way passing for the white team, completing seven of 11 passes for 47 yards.
The white defense stepped up in the second half, holding the purple team off the scoreboard until Vander Waal’s 60-yard touchdown pass to King that ended the contest.
Both defenses stuck their paws in the passing lanes and deflected passes, one of which led to the only turnover of the scrimmage, an interception by sophomore safety Antwon Fegans off a pass from Vander Waal.
“Coach (Weston) Glaser wants to play fast and play with great energy and his guys have done that,” Laird said. “He really stresses getting to ball and forcing turnovers.
“Then Coach (Chris) Gistorb up front with the defensive linemen, if you’re not able to affect the quarterback with your pass rush, do it with your body. You saw that not just today, but I thought throughout spring practice, defensive linemen being able to bat balls down.”
The defenses brought pressure, posting three quarterback sacks, one each by Jacob Washington, Jaeden Ward and Jordan Williams.
Whenever someone had the ball, regardless of the team, the defenses rallied to the ball to make the tackle.
“Every practice we have a swarm drill that we go over,” redshirt freshman cornerback Daniel Dufour said. “They make sure we’re always swarming to the ball. The coaches love that. It is their favorite thing.”
Myles Kitt-Denton 76 pass from Tyler Vander Waal (Kern kick)
Evan Kern 37 field goal
Ke’Nard King 8 pass from Tyler Vander Waal (Kern kick)
Ke’Nard King 60 pass from Tyler Vander Waal (Kern kick)
Rushing (47-153, 0 TD): Kolbe Burrell 15-63; Kennieth Lacy 6-51; Duce Hart 11-41; Scooter Adams 7-32; Tyler Vander Waal 1-3; J.T. Fayard 1-0; Kareame Cotton: 3-(-17); Newman 3-(-20).
Passing (20-40-1, 305, 3 TDs): Tyler Vander Waal 9-17-1 239, 3 TD; Newman 7-11-0 47; Kareame Cotton Jr. 2-6-0 12; Fayard 2-5-0 7, BJ Higgins 0-1-0 0
Receiving: Ke’Nard King 6-108, 2 TDs; Myles Kitt-Denton 1-76, TD; Jaheim Walters 1-40; Travon Jones 1-26; Hogan Wasson 4-23; Zach Patterson 2-19; Kennieth Lacy 1-4; Duce Hart 2-(-1); Andy Pierre-Antoine 1 -(-1)
Anthony Richard Jr. 5 tackles PBU; William White 5 tackles, PBU; Cadillac Rhone 5 tackles; Kyren Brown 5 tackles; Jeremiah Bodwin 5 tackles; Jacob Washington 4 tackles, sack; Daniel Dufour 4 tackles; Isaiah Robinson 4 tackles; Ronnie Caldwell 3 tackles; Trevion Snead 3 tackles; Ara Rauls III 3 tackles; Jaeden Ward 2 tackles, sack; Jordan Williams 2 tackles, sack; Chad Gooden Jr. 2 tackles; Kwame Sarkodie 2 tackles; Tory Morgan 2 tackles; Ja’Quel Mack 2 tackles; Kevin Davis 2 tackles; Antwon Fegans 1 tackle, INT; Camden Hardy 1 tackle; Jared Pedraza 1 tackle; Dante Thomas 1 tackle; Ty Ely 1 tackle; Nazir SY 1 tackle; Donovan Green 1 tackle; JaQuon Lott 1 tackle; Johnny Mitchell 1 tackle; DJ Johnson 1 tackle; Micah Hall 1 tackle; Garren Hebert 1 tackle; Donald Johnson 1 tackle; Tyron Hall PBU.