Although he emerged from a three-way race to be William and Mary’s starting quarterback in the opener, Tommy McKee knew the long term wasn’t guaranteed. Each week, he told himself, he’d have to keep earning it.
McKee did nothing to hurt his status Saturday night in the Tribe’s 20-6 win over Norfolk State. With is arm, he completed 16 of 27 passes for 169 yards and three touchdowns. With his legs, he rushed for 114 yards on 14 carries.
McKee became the first W&M quarterback since David Corley since 2000 to rush for more than 100 yards. After two games, he’s the Tribe’s leading rusher with 203 yards.
“I ran a triple-option offense in high school, so I’m really comfortable on my feet,” said McKee, a Cox High graduate. “If the pass isn’t there, I feel comfortable improvising. I feel like that’s definitely a strength in my game.”
Ordinarily, W&M coach Jimmye Laycock doesn’t like the idea of his quarterback leading the team in rushing. But he’s adjusting.
“Every year’s different, every team’s different, every player’s different,” he said. “He can tuck it and go, and we’re crazy if we don’t let him go.”
McKee’s running ability set up his first career touchdown pass, an 18-yard throw to tight end Andrew Caskin. McKee scrambled back to his left and found Caskin, who managed to get a foot inbounds, in the end zone.
“He made a couple of really, really nice throws,” Laycock said. “That one to Caskin, that was big-league. That was a hard throw.”
McKee also hit Daniel Kuzjak for a 20-yard touchdown with eight seconds left in the first half.
“I wanted to kick a field goal, and Tommy wanted to go for the end zone,” Laycock said. “I said, ‘Go ahead, but you’d better make it.’ He found him and got it.”
Defensively, William and Mary (1-1) held Norfolk State to 273 total yards. The Tribe had five quarterback sacks, bringing its two-game total to eight. W&M had 10 all of last season.
A key play came in the second quarter with the game still scoreless. On second-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Norfolk State’s Quintreil Chung was stopped for a loss by W&M’s Graydon Campbell. On third down, end Matt Ahola forced Carter to throw the ball away.
The Spartans (0-2) had to take a 19-yard field goal by Josh Nardone, which made it 3-0 with 8:28 left in the second quarter.
“That was huge for us,” defensive tackle Isaiah Stephens said. “I felt like we shouldn’t have let them get down that far. But when they did, we told ourselves we were going to contain and not let that happen again.
“We don’t want touchdowns at all. We’ll settle for a field goal, but we don’t want any touchdowns.”
William and Mary finished with 375 total yards, 205 coming on its three touchdown drives. It wasn’t pretty at times, but the Tribe has had make some changes since the injury to wide receiver DeVonte Dedmon.
“One thing we were kind of struggling a little bit with was that we had so much of our offense going through DeVonte,” Laycock said. “Now, all of a sudden, we had to change that around a little bit. A lot.
“We wanted to have him in a read on just about every throw we make. So we had to change some things around and make some adjustments.”
Saturday night, it went through McKee.
Johnson can be reached by phone at 757-247-4649. Follow him on Twitter at @DaveJohnsonDP.