MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Hudson Clement's performance impressed Neal Brown so much that the West Virginia coach put him on scholarship immediately after the game.
The redshirt freshman caught three of Garrett Greene's career-high four touchdown passes in his first college appearance and West Virginia withstood a nearly two-hour weather delay and its own early mistakes to beat Duquesne 56-17 Saturday night.
Clement was told he would get the start in place of Devin Carter just prior to the game. Brown didn't like how Carter looked in pregame warmups after getting stepped on in practice on Wednesday.
“I think life's about opportunities, and what do you with your opportunities," Brown said. "He earned a scholarship. Super happy for him.”
West Virginia (1-1) bounced back from a blowout loss at Penn State with multiple long offensive plays that were lacking in the opener.
In 2021, Clement set a West Virginia high school record at Martinsburg High when he scored eight touchdowns in the state title game. He never saw the field at West Virginia in 2022.
On Saturday, Clement caught his first career pass, a 14-yard TD in the first quarter, and his 39-yard grab later in the period set up Jaylen Anderson’s 8-yard scoring run.
The game was delayed nearly two hours early in the second quarter because of storms and lightning in the area. Due to the delay, there was no halftime. Only a fraction of the announced crowd of 50,037 stuck around for the second half.
When play resumed, Clements went off.
Greene threw 30 yards over a defender to Clement, who raced the rest of the way for a 70-yard score. On West Virginia’s next possession, Clement was alone down the right sideline in blown coverage when Greene found him for an easy, 46-yard scoring play and a 28-10 lead.
Clements finished with five catches for 177 yards, all in the first half.
“We knew he was really good," Duquesne coach Jerry Schmitt said. "It’s tough to consistently through the whole game stay with him. It’s really tough. And there were actually some schemes that we had a pretty good idea it was going his way. And you still can’t.”
In his fourth career start, Greene went 10 of 18 for a career-best 240 yards. Backup Nicco Marchiol took over in the second half. West Virginia finished with 619 total yards, including 304 on the ground. Backup freshman running back Jahiem White ran for 110 yards and a score, all in the second half.
West Virginia still has some coverage problems in its secondary to figure out.
In the teams’ first meeting since 1935, Duquesne (1-1) took advantage after West Virginia’s Jacolby Spells let a bouncing punt touch him. The Dukes recovered at the West Virginia 46, and four plays later Darius Perrantes threw a 38-yard scoring pass to DJ Powell.
Powell also was wide open but fell on another long pass that was incomplete in the second quarter. On the next play, Powell made a 34-yard catch to the West Virginia 27, setting up a field goal just before the weather delay with West Virginia leading 14-10.
“I wasn't pleased with how we started,” Brown said. “We've got to be better in the secondary.”
Perrantes finished 14 of 31 for 220 yards with two TDs and two interceptions.
Duquesne: The Dukes were limited to three rushing yards after running for 234 last week against Division II Edinboro. Duquesne fell to 1-7 all-time against Bowl Subdivision opponents.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers may have found another deep receiving threat to complement Carter. Only time will tell if Clement can come close to the same magic against tougher competition in the weeks ahead. West Virginia played the first of three straight home games, which will be its best chance to build momentum in a critical year for Brown.
Duquesne plays at Coastal Carolina next Saturday.
West Virginia hosts Pittsburgh next Saturday.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll