Childress saw it happening and threw to a spot he and Shorts knew to be the destination.
"I knew he'd be there to make a play," Childress said.
Both of those, though, were dwarfed by the play that impressed Coach Dana Holgorsen the most. It wasn't a touchdown. There were no yards after the catch. He simply ran a route in the middle of the field and slid to make a catch, but right as a Georgia State defender went low to pop Shorts.
He was rattled, but he jumped right to his feet. On the sideline, his head coach did, too, and justly awarded Shorts the team's offensive player of the week award.
"It didn't look like I got hit that hard on film, but in the game, that was a pretty big hit," said Shorts, who when he was being recruited had Boise State figuring out if Shorts was a receiver or a defensive back and Temple and North Carolina State talking him into playing safety. "It looked like I got hit pretty hard on the first touchdown, but I didn't really feel that one."
What's really riveting about Shorts is not his performance in the first game or his perseverance in the third, but the disappearance in the second. He caught no passes for no yards and no scores against Oklahoma. He lost his starting spot to junior college transfer Mario Alford.
"He had a bad game and he knew it," Holgorsen said. "He didn't pout. We named Mario the starter and he didn't pout about it. He worked hard and got into position to play."
Shorts said he couldn't wait to watch the loss on film, to witness and to learn from his mistakes. He said he was like so many others that night who were guilty of "leaving plays on the field" in Oklahoma and coming to realize afterward the missed opportunities cost the Mountaineers the game.
"Some of it was just little things, like finding the right hole," he said. "I remember one route when I went too far inside. I should have stayed on the hash. Little things like that are big."
Alford and Shorts are different players, Alford is three inches shorter, 25 pounds lighter and thus better suited for the short stuff inside receivers are asked to do, but also armed with two seasons of junior college experience. Shorts is a bigger complement who can add vertical elements to the passing game.
"If you have a good week of practice, it doesn't matter," Shorts said. "If you're slacking, that definitely does affect your reps and who gets in the game. If you get the hot hand, he'll keep you in. As long as you do your job, you'll rotate in.
"But it's definitely a challenge. I tried to come into practice and work hard and have a better week of practice, and not just last week. I'm trying to get better this week, too. You'll rotate in if you do your job."