Backup quarterback Ryan Radcliff had a hunch he might see some playing time Saturday against Alcorn State during practice last week.
The football team just upset Big Ten opponent Michigan State and was heading into a game against a Football Championship Subdivision team.
The redshirt freshman backup said he thought he might see some time in second half if the game was out of reach.
“Alcorn State is a good team, but we (the second string) were thinking we could see some action today,” Radcliff said. “We just wanted to make sure we were ready to go, try to get extra film in and take extra mental reps in practice.”
Before the second quarter was over, Radcliff got the call to go in.
“It was nice to get out on the field and do it for real,” he said. “I’ve been here a year and half or so, it’s nice to get that real experience under my belt.”
Radcliff and senior quarterback Dan LeFevour did not know who would be going in during Radcliff’s initial series so, LeFevour, a four-year starter, was unable to give Radcliff some advice to calm him down.
“Once he came off, we were able to talk a little more about what happened, what he saw, things like that,” LeFevour said.
Radcliff started slow, overthrowing a few initial throws, but settled in to finish 6-of-11 for 49 yards.
“I thought he managed our offense well,” said head coach Butch Jones. “I think his emotions got the best of him maybe the first couple throws, but Ryan’s a real competitive kid. Ryan’s very smart. Just the experience he gained today was big.”
Radcliff’s job was more about managing the clock and moving the ball rather than putting up points. With CMU up 34-0, the game was out of reach.
“We kept it simple out there,” he said. “We were running, doing some short underneath passes, just trying to keep the clock going.”
He said all the experience he had at CMU did not compare to the game experience he received Saturday.
“It’s great out there,” Radcliff said. “Even practice, even spring ball, it’s not the same. You get out there in front of everyone, it actually matters, it counts.”
Sophomore quarterback Derek Rifenbury also saw playing time in the fourth quarter, although he did not attempt a pass.