But the one interception that Thomas did throw wasn’t entirely his fault. The quarterback tried another deep pass to receiver Demitri Knowles that ended up being picked off.
“I should’ve jumped up for it but I kind of fell a little bit and I should have jumped,” Knowles said. “So I’ll take that one.”
With the exception of that failure, the receivers played remarkably well against the Pirates.
“Demitri made a couple tough catches, Josh (Stanford) made a couple tough catches and (Willie Byrn), he’s as dependable as the day is long,” said head coach Frank Beamer.
Knowles and Byrn had particularly good games, as they caught eight balls for 99 yards and seven for 63 yards respectively.
“I’m gaining confidence when they gain confidence,” Thomas said. “The more I see them with smiles on their faces when they’re out there on the practice field or game field, I know they’re having fun.”
Despite the interception, Knowles had the best statistical game of his young career, and he’s finally starting get in sync with Thomas.
“I still feel like we’ve got a lot more trust to build, but I feel like it’s starting to click,” Knowles said.
Byrn has also developed into a dependable short-yardage target for Thomas.
“For the underneath stuff, he does a great job of knowing where he needs to be and that’s the type of person we’ve got to have in that situation,” Thomas said. “You can always count on him to be where he’s supposed to be and then make the play.”
Yet with a matchup looming against a Thundering Herd defense that’s allowed the fifth fewest yards in the country, both Thomas and his receivers will have to be especially sharp on Saturday.
“I’ve got to be able to go through all my stuff and at the same time those receivers have got to be able to do their thing and paint the picture for me,” Thomas said. “We’ve just got to go out there and do what we do.”