WVU’s Martell Pettaway Keys Run Game In Mountaineer Win Over Texas
AUSTIN, Texas — Martell Pettaway said it was nothing special, at least in terms of the way West Virginia approached its running game against Texas. The numbers, of course, say something else.
West Virginia gashed the Texas defense for 232 yards on the ground, averaging seven yards per carry, in the Mountaineers’ 42-41 win, and it was the simple fact that WVU could run the ball against a Longhorn defense designed to stop the pass that made the difference.
Even on its final drive, with just 2:34 to play and starting 78 yards from the end zone, WVU still ran the ball three times, gaining 20 yards to keep UT guessing,
“Just run the ball, keep good pad level, nothing special, said Pettaway, who racked up 121 yards on just nine carries while accounting for two scores. “All week in practice we talked about the impetus on running. We knew we were going to run the ball. Coach Black (Marquel Blackwell) has been talking to us all week about that. He was saying ‘We are going to have to run the ball eventually. When you get it make the best of your opportunity, so make the most of it.”
That the Mountaineers did. Aided by Kennedy McKoy’s 94 yards on 17 carries, WVU continually made UT pay for putting only five or six defenders in the box on most plays.
“It’s amazing, all the energy, hearing everybody yell ‘Yeah!’ when we are out there,” Pettaway said of WVU’s tag team attack. “It’s a good group of guys out there. I love them.”
Pettaways signature run came in the second quarter, when he appeared to be going to the ground on a UT tackle attempt. INstead, he put his hand to the turf, steadied himself, and raced 55 yards to burnt orange paydirt, doing a little burning himself in the process.
“I definitely saw all grass, and I saw David (Sills) peel back on the corner,” PEttaway said of his path after regaining his balance and momentum.”
Pettaway did list a couple of tweaks in WVU’s blocking scheme and tactics, but again, noted that those weren’t the reasons for the huge improvement. As for the two-point conversion, though…
“I didn’t have any doubt that we were going to get it. We’ve been practicing that since last season. The second time after they called the time out, I was nervous, very nervous. I hate those types of things. I had faith. We lined up, we liked what we saw and we didn’t call time out, so I knew we were going to get it. We practice it every week. Everytime we practice two-minute drill, we practice it.”
Proving, we’d say, the old adage that practice makes perfect.