Quarterback Josh Jones hooks a pass along the right sideline during UNCP’s win over Elizabeth City State. Jones went 10/19 for 100 yards and a touchdown pass in the game. PN photo/Trevon Knight
After a less than lackluster performance in the season opener and being absolutely outplayed by true freshman Josh Jones, redshirt freshman Joshua Dale threw his hat back in the ring and proved that there is still an open competition at quarterback with brilliant performance on the night.
He exhibited poise in the pocket as stepped up to make throws, with impressive mobility in alluding the rush while still keeping his eyes down field to find his receivers.
He also showed excellent touch on his best throw of the season so far with a perfectly placed back shoulder fade to redshirt freshman receiver Tyshawn Carter in the left corner of the endzone.
Dale finished the day 9-10 for 93 passing yards and a touchdown and had one less incompletion than he had completions against the Rams.
While Dale did everything in his power to keep the quarterback controversy alive, Jones did nothing to suggest that his fourth quarter magic from the week prior was a fluke.
The true freshman got his first start of his collegiate career and led the Braves on their first three scoring drives to put the team up 17-0.
He was also the leading passer on the day completing 10-19 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown. On his only touchdown pass of the day he found redshirt junior receiver Quay Threatt streaking wide open down the right sideline after the Vikings bit hard and were completely duped by the play action fake after he rolled out to his right, planted his feet and delivered the 44-yard bomb.
Jones continued to show his process for taking deep shots down the field that he displayed in the season opener.
He could have doubled his passing yardage on the day had he connected on two deep shots down the seam where Carter and sophomore receiver Corey West both had split the two deep safeties and had more than a step on the nearest defender, but they just couldn’t haul them in.
If he can find a way to hone in on those throws and complete those plays, he just might pull away for sole possession of the starting gig.
“We go on based off of a system. It doesn’t matter who’s the guy in there (the huddle), we’re all back him up no matter what, keep the same energy no matter who’s in so it’s not really a change, we keep the same beat,” said redshirt junior running back Josh Sheridan.
Head Coach Shane Richardson believes that he and his staff will let the tape tell the tale of which quarterback executes the offense better.
“Josh Jones had significantly more reps earlier in the game, but I thought Josh Dale made a heck of a throw on the one touchdown to Tyshawn (on the back-shoulder fade). I thought that was a fantastic play and so we’re going to keep evaluating and make sure we continue to put ourselves in the best position possible at that position,” said Richardson.
Redshirt freshman receiver Tyshawn Carter celebrates with the team after catching a back-shoulder pass from quarterback Joshua Dale for a touchdown. PN photo/Trevon Knight
Both quarterbacks helped the offense move down the field with ease that night. They both led multiple scoring drives, exhibited all the traits of a quality and starting caliber quarterback and neither of them made the job of nailing down a starter easy on the UNCP coaching staff.
Look for them to continue to employ the two-headed attack similar to what the Clemson Tigers and Alabama Crimson Tide are using until one guy stakes his final claim with his play on the field.