Donovan Smith was flawless when pressed into action
We knew that second-team quarterback Donovan Smith would play on Saturday night. McGuire had promised us that.
However, we did not know that he would have to take over the reins of the offense full-time after just one quarter of play. Thrust into action after Shough went down with another shoulder/collarbone injury, Smith was essentially flawless in his performance going 14-16 passing for 221 yards and four TDs.
It would have been easy for Smith to be discouraged after losing the starting job to Shough in fall camp and for him to mentally take his foot off the gas in terms of preparation. Instead, he seemed locked in when his number was called and that’s a testament to his character.
"“One of our big deals as a team is what’s next,” McGuire said. “Everything in life, good things are going to happen. What’s next? Bad things are going to happen. What’s next? I think it shows a lot about his character because he didn’t win the job. He came in and was ready to play at an extremely high level. I was really proud of that.”"
There was no dropoff from Shough to Smith in the game. It could even be argued that the offense picked up a notch when Smith was calling the signals (though Shough looked locked-in as well). Entering the game under unexpected circumstances, Smith completed his first pass for a 30-yard TD to Bradley and then completed his second pass to Fouonji for a 39-yard TD strike. In all, he would complete seven of his first nine passes.
It appears that Smith will be this team’s starter for at least the next handful of games. We won’t know how long he’ll be QB1 until we get a more definitive word on the severity of Shough’s injury though. Thankfully, he is the best backup Tech has had since perhaps the days when Pat Mahomes was backing up Davis Webb in 2014, and given what we saw on Saturday night, he appears ready to lead this team.