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Published: Saturday, 4/13/2013

New QB shows potential for UT in spring football game

Quarterback Terrance Owens guided the Gold team to a win in UT's spring game. Quarterback Terrance Owens guided the Gold team to a win in UT's spring game.

The scene was set to see what the new kid is made of.

Logan Woodside was looking at roughly 90 yards of turf between his offensive line and a chance at victory in his first test as a University of Toledo quarterback.

One play later he was trotting off the field, and linebacker Chase Murdock was celebrating an interception.

A feel-good story will have to wait another day. Woodside (6-foot-2, 210 pounds) of Frankfort, Ky., and among two 2013 recruits to enroll early, showed potential in his first public appearance at the Glass Bowl in the team’s spring game.

But he threw two interceptions and was unable to outduel Terrance Owens and the latter’s offensively-rich gold team.

PHOTO GALLERY: Gold wins UT spring game

Gold turned Murdock’s outstretched interception of Woodside into a touchdown, a 12-yard Ricky Pringle run with 1:11 left and won 21-10.

Woodside, who appeared to secure the backup job with a solid spring, was 9-of-24 for 88 yards. He scored blue’s only touchdown midway through the second quarter on a designed run, sprinting 16 yards untouched. Had a defender merely put a finger on the quarterback, the play would have been ruled dead. His 41-yard hookup with Dwight Macon across the middle to begin the fourth quarter led to his team’s other points, a 33-yard Jeremiah Detmer field goal.

Toledo's Blue team quarterback Logan Woodside throws a pass during the spring game at the Glass Bowl on Friday.  The Gold team beat the Blue team 21-10. Toledo's Blue team quarterback Logan Woodside throws a pass during the spring game at the Glass Bowl on Friday. The Gold team beat the Blue team 21-10.

A sizzling introduction for Woodside, this was not. Nor was it a clunker.

He showed he can sling the ball with velocity, and he did so with a surrounding cast weaker than the star-studded cast on the other side. Owens had the luxury of throwing the ball to the team’s top receivers, Bernard Reedy and Alonzo Russell, and handing it to David Fluellen, one of the nation’s most productive backs in 2012.

Coach Matt Campbell designed the draft earlier in the week to put the best offensive players on Gold by making Owens, Reedy, and Fluellen captains. Blue, captained by defensive linemen Elijah Jones and Jayrone Elliott, and safety Ross Madison, had the edge on defense.

"I’ve seen big strides from Logan," said Owens, who was sharp, completing 19-of-29 for 223 yards. "He’s still a senior in high school. For him to come out this spring and learn the offense, he did a pretty good job."

Owens, who enrolled like other freshmen in the fall, and then redshirted, said "I couldn’t even imagine" being exposed to what Woodside has went through since January.

The only blue drive in which Woodside didn’t appear ended horribly. Macon, who is getting minimal reps at quarterback, was sacked on second down and mishandled the snap on third. Blue faced fourth-and-50 from the 4-yard line.

Owens found Russell for the biggest gain of the day, a 64-yarder that set up Gold’s second touchdown, a seven-yard Pringle run. Russell, who pulled in eight passes for 135 yards, beat Cheatham Norrils along the sideline and made a late adjustment on a ball thrown to the inside by a foot or two.

The health of Owens, who put on 10 pounds this offseason and would like to add more, will be key entering a season with high expectations. When Owens missed time last year, with two bad ankles, Campbell turned to senior and multiyear starter Austin Dantin. That luxury no longer exists, and in its place stands Woodside, who showed enough Friday to be optimistic entering the offseason.

"We have a guy who is exceptional in Terrance and we really feel excited about what Logan Woodside’s able to do," Campbell said.

Contact Ryan Autullo at: rautullo@theblade.com 419-724-6160 or onTwitter @AutulloBlade.

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