WVU Again Racks Up More Than 500 Yards Of Offense In Easy Victory
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Justin Crawford ran for a career-high three touchdowns and West Virginia overcame a sluggish start to beat Delaware State 59-16 here Saturday.
The Mountaineers turned the ball over three times in the first half, including an interception and fumble near their own goal line by quarterback Will Grier, and never found the seamless play showcased against East Carolina. Grier completed 19 of 27 passes for 304 yards and three scores before exiting early in the third quarter for a second straight game. But Grier was a touch languid compared to his sizzling performance last week, missing multiple early throws before throwing a interception early in the second quarter.
It mirrored many of the Mountaineers, the defense allowing another long scoring pass early when Marvin Gross’ busted coverage led to an 81-yard game-tying touchdown that made it 7-7. Special teams struggled in coverage, and West Virginia generally played as though it had vastly better talent – and it wanted to ride that element alone to the win.
That worked against the lowly Hornets, now losers of 34 of their last 37 and winless over the last 14 games. But WVU didn’t put on the type of impressive dissection desired despite the final total. Crawford racked up 102 yards on 15 carries with the trio of scores, while Martell Pettaway carried the late-game
Marcus Simms caught touchdowns of 62 and 16 yards, and Ka’Raun White added a 28-yard score when he out-battled a defensive back on a throw to the end zone with 10:48 in the second quarter. It was a three possession game at that point, and Crawford and the Mountaineers kept pouring it on when the back rushed for his third touchdown, finding pay dirt with 50 seconds left in the first half as WVU took a 45-10 lead into the locker room.
Grier played one series in the second half before giving way to back-up Chris Chugunov. The Mountaineers pulled back on the reins at that point, adding Pettaway’s 12-yard rush for a 52-10 lead going into a meaningless fourth quarter. It was elementary from there, though the Mountaineers have to be concerned with several elements of play, including run fit and leverage, pass coverage and the cornerback position in general.
A handful of Mountaineers saw their first extensive action of the season, with the likes of Tevin Bush, Drew Bowen, Reggie Roberson and more playing the majority of the fourth quarter. Back Kennedy McKoy was noticeably absent, an aspect to check in the postgame.
WVU opens Big 12 play next week, traveling to Kansas for a Noon eastern kick. The game will be televised by ESPNU.