-- It sure felt like football season today. The weather was fall-like, the parking lots packed with tailgaters who began gathering hours before kickoff and fans of all ages donned one Virginia Tech jersey or another.
Inside Lane Stadium -- where the game's quarterbacks were clothed in yellow, no-touch jerseys instead of a regular uniform -- it became clear this was, after all, only a spring scrimmage.
That didn't seem to matter to the more than 30,000 fans who filled the stands for the annual Maroon-White game, most to see the first public unveiling of redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Vick, the younger brother of former Hokies standout Michael Vick. He did not disappoint, leading the White team to a 14-3 victory over the Bryan Randall-led Maroon squad.
Vick completed 10 of 15 passes for 92 yards and one touchdown. Randall connected on 12 of 21 throws for 149 yards, including four passes to junior DeAngelo Hall, who is projected to be the Hokies' first two-way starter at wide receiver and defensive back.
"I kind of expected a big turnout today," said Randall, the team's starter. "A pretty good crowd to come out and see the quarterback controversy, so-called. . . . When it comes down to it, the best player is going to be on the field and it's up to the coaches. It's kind of out of me and Marcus's control right now. We just want to go out there and get better every day."
The White team scored twice in the shortened 26-minute game, including on a 19-yard crossing pattern from Vick to senior Ernest Wilford in the opening quarter and a 26-yard reverse by junior Richard Johnson in the fourth. Vick's prettiest throw of the game was one that went for naught, a beautifully-placed 60-yard pass from Vick to Johnson that fell through the receiver's hands and left the crowd simultaneously groaning and applauding.
"I was just anxious to complete one of those," Vick said. "We've been begging for those all spring."
Senior kicker Carter Warley's 34-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter produced the Maroon team's only points.
Scoring would likely have been much higher if not for the yellow jerseys, which left officials whistling plays dead the moment a defender's hand touched either quarterback. As a result, neither passer was able to showcase his mobility or ability to avoid the rush. Both also had passes thrown -- and completed -- as they were being touched that were instead ruled incomplete.
"I really wish we could have just turned those guys loose because I think you would have seen a different game almost," Coach Frank Beamer said. "Some of those times that the whistle was blowing probably would have turned into great plays. But not having a third quarterback established right now I just didn't think it was the right call for this football team.
"You don't play scared, but I sure didn't' want to get one of them hurt and then go into the fall practices with one quarterback."