Danny Chan La, Deseret News
Purple's Scotty Goodloe intercepts a pass intended for Mike Phillips during Weber State's spring football game Saturday.

OGDEN — For about 70 plays, Ron McBride was a frustrated man.

He thought his Weber State football team had made a lot of progress during the spring drills. The Wildcats looked like anything but a well-oiled machine for far longer than the fourth-year WSU coach expected at the annual Purple and White Game wrapping up spring practices.

"Defensively," McBride said, taking a moment to choose his words and take some of the heat off the offense, "I thought some guys showed up on defense and played really well."

Offensively, on the other hand, it took a while to get things rolling.

But when they did, the Wildcat offensive players were pretty impressive.

Sophomore quarterback Cameron Higgins threw three second-half touchdowns to lead the Purple squad to a 24-7 win over the White. Higgins completed 17 of 24 passes for 282 yards. He connected with Bryant Eteuati on a 30-yard strike shortly after the half and later found Sam Hardy for a 15-yard score and Joe Collins for a 28-yard touchdown.

"The guys were kinda antsy," Higgins said. "It was the last scrimmage, and there were people out there watching us. Once we started settling down and thinking about the plays, everything worked out."

The scrimmage marked the first for Higgins as the designated starter. A year ago, he was well down the depth chart as a redshirt freshman. This time, he's the team leader and admits that took some getting used to.

"It's weird to have guys come to me for advice," Higgins said. "I learned my roll on the team. I got to step up and be the leader."

McBride, after the second half took away some of his first-half frustrations, was pleased with the improvement.

"Obviously," he said, "we've got some big-play guys. Higgins did a nice job in the second half."

Eteuati had five receptions for 86 yards while Collins added another 51 yards on four grabs.

Perhaps the biggest surprise on the offense, though, was freshman running back Justin White. The Oklahoma native had 51 yards rushing on 18 attempts and another 77 receiving yards. His 42-yard catch and run was the longest play of the day.

On the other side of the ball, senior quarterback Brendon Doyle completed 12 of 26 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. Tim Toone had three of those receptions for 55 yards and a score.

Senior running back Eric Lee also had a solid afternoon with 74 yards on 18 carries.

With practices now concluded for the spring, McBride and the Wildcats will be off until fall when they reopen camp in preparation for the Aug. 26 season opener against Montana-Western.

E-mail: jeborn@desnews.com