Tim Beckman didn't go as far as naming Austin Dantin his starting quarterback after Friday night's spring intrasquad game, but Dantin went a long way in solidifying himself as the next top signal-caller for the University of Toledo.
Dantin was a perfect 8-of-8 passing for 56 yards and guided the Blue team to a 21-14 victory over the Gold squad in front of 1,700 at the Glass Bowl.
"With this and everything I accomplished this spring, I believe I still am the starting quarterback going into the fall," said Dantin, who entered the spring atop the Rockets' depth chart. "But that's for the coaches to decide. I'm just hoping for the best."
Beckman stood about 15-20 yards behind the line of scrimmage on the offensive side of the ball during the first half and said he liked what he saw from Dantin. But he also added that he saw positives from sophomore David Pasquale, who started for the Gold team, redshirt freshman Terrance Owens, and senior Alex Pettee.
"It's wide open," Beckman said of the position battle between the four. "They all have their strengths, and we're going to have to make a determination next fall."
Asked if any of the QB candidates made a case last night to be named the starter, Beckman said, "No, I don't think so. Not yet. We told each one of them they each had one good scrimmage of all the scrimmages that we had. This one could be a tell-tale factor of who's going to be the No. 1 guy leaving [the spring], and we'll have to go and evaluate that [on film] and make that decision."
Pettee, who served as Dantin's backup on the Blue team, attempted the most passes of the quartet, completing 12-of-19 and totaling 94 yards. He also threw an interception.
For the Gold squad, Pasquale was 7-of-14 passing for 13 yards and also had 33 rushing yards on five carries. Owens finished 9-of-13 passing for 66 yards. Both were intercepted once.
Dantin led the group in rushing, gaining 44 yards on seven carries. In addition, he championed the Blue team's game-winning drive starting on its own 38-yard line with 6:23 to play.
Junior running back Morgan Williams capped off the 11-play march down the field with a 1-yard touchdown run around the left end with 1:04 remaining, and Dantin hit redshirt freshman receiver Ed Williams in the back left corner of the end zone for the two-point conversion.
"I thought things went really well," Dantin said. "Being able to put it in at the end there, that shows everything that we've worked for all winter and all spring."
Dantin added that he didn't feel any different behind center last night after appearing in seven games last season in place of injured starter Aaron Opelt, except for one key area.
"If anything, I felt more comfortable out there," Dantin said. "Knowing what I can do out on the field and having that game experience, I mean I think it really does help and, you know, calms me down and allows me to manage the game better."
Dantin helped the Blue team take an early 7-0 lead on its second possession of the game, completing all four of his pass attempts on a drive that culminated with redshirt freshman running back Darius Reeve's 3-yard plunge up the middle with 2:21 left in the first quarter.
Then with Pettee behind center, junior kicker Ryan Casano booted field goals from 23 and 37 yards out to put the Blue team up 13-0 with 6:18 to go in the second quarter.
Junior running back Adonis Thomas then had 2 yard and 1 yard TD runs in the second and third quarters, respectively, to give the Gold team control.
Thomas finished with a game-high 79 rushing yards on 16 carries, while Morgan Williams topped both squads with 48 receiving yards on four catches.
Freshman defensive back Ross Madison had a game-high 11 tackles for the Gold team, and senior linebacker Archie Donald was right behind with 10 tackles, including two for a loss.
Sophomore safety and Iowa transfer Diauntae Morrow topped the Blue squad with eight tackles, while senior cornerback Desmond Marrow picked up an interception in his first game action since the 2008 season because of an injury.
"It felt real good to get back out there," Marrow said. "I haven't played in an actual game in like a year and a half, so I've been anticipating this and was real anxious all day."
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