"I've never had a spring game with so many guys banged up," Kirkland said.
He limited the carries of starting tailback C.J. Stallworth and Northern Illinois transfer Leighton Settle.
"[The backs] got some good reps early," Kirkland said, "but not much."
Settle said he transferred from NIU "because I didn't like the way NIU ran its offense. I was looking for a Division II school to get more carries."
With Stallworth and Settle mostly sitting, UC's 5-6 speed back Kevin Myers took advantage with a touchdown burst in the first quarter. Freshman quarterback Jermaine Kelly also had a solid outing, punctuated by an 11-yard touchdown rocket screen pass to Josef Hinnant on the right side.
"I've got a lot of work to do," Kelly said. "I've got to feel comfortable. I've got to go in confident."
Until the last-second TD pass from Knox, though, the most exciting play came from the defense. Senior defensive back Bam Harrison intercepted a pass and returned it 65 yards, accounting for six defensive points.
"We came out and competed," Kirkland said. "I'm really excited about some of the new guys ... I'm encouraged."
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.