Grier, Crawford lead West Virginia over Delaware State 59-16
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen wasn’t left discouraged by several early glitches in a blowout win over an FCS school.
Holgorsen came away pleased overall despite several first-half turnovers on offense and his defense’s inability to shut down Delaware State in the Mountaineers’ 59-16 victory on Saturday.
Will Grier threw three touchdown passes, Justin Crawford ran for three scores and West Virginia (2-1) compiled 538 yards of offense against the Hornets (0-3), who lost their 14th straight game. But West Virginia had plenty of problems on both sides of the ball in its final tuneup before the start of Big 12 play.
”I know there was some sloppy stuff here and there, but I’m not going to split hairs,” Holgorsen said. ”We got to play a lot of people and that’s what counts.”
West Virginia scored touchdowns on six of 10 first-half possessions and led 45-10 at halftime. The other possessions were head scratchers. West Virginia fumbled the ball away twice and Grier threw an interception in the first half.
Grier fumbled twice on the same series, the second of which was recovered by Delaware State that led to a field goal.
Grier was off target on short first-half throws into the end zone to David Sills and Gary Jennings, who couldn’t hang on. Sills also dropped a pass with plenty of open field ahead of him. And Jennings’ second-quarter fumble that stopped another promising drive prompted some boos.
”I’ve got all the confidence in the world in Will Grier, Gary Jennings and David Sills to where they’re going to bounce back and be ready to play,” Holgorsen said.
Grier finished 19 of 27 for 304 yards before going to the bench. He had TD throws of 62 and 16 yards to Marcus Simms and 28 yards to Ka’Raun White.
”It was a slow start,” Grier said. ”I don’t think as a whole we were ready to play. I think we kind of took it lightly and that’s something that we’ve got to work on.”
Crawford had scoring runs of 2, 3 and 9 yards and finished with 102 yards on 15 carries for his third straight 100-yard effort.
On defense, West Virginia’s coaches wanted a more consistent effort from a unit that had allowed an average of 470 yards. It didn’t happen. The long runs and blown pass coverages that plagued the Mountaineers over their first two games kept on coming.
On Delaware State’s first series, freshman quarterback Jack McDaniels found Nyfease West alone along the left sideline and he went 81 yards untouched for a touchdown.
Delaware State had 301 yards of offense, its highest output of the season. The Hornets had six runs of at least 10 yards, including Brycen Alleyne’s 47-yarder in the first quarter.
”I’m proud of our kids,” said Delaware State coach Kenny Carter. “Create turnovers, play steady, play physical – it’s what we expected.”
Delaware State: Despite a strong start with 10 points in the game’s first 10 minutes, a young Delaware State roster couldn’t keep up. McDaniels completed seven of 12 passes for 114 yards.
West Virginia: Simms gives the Mountaineers a solid speed threat at wide receiver. He now has three TDs in two games after serving a one-game suspension against Virginia Tech in the opener following his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving. … West Virginia’s miscues also involved special teams. Alleyne returned a kickoff 49 yards. And Sills was flagged for running into Delaware State’s punter.
Holgorsen said backup running back Kennedy McKoy was suspended for Saturday’s game due to an undisclosed violation of team rules. The sophomore is West Virginia’s second-leading rusher with 99 yards and one TD this season. He’s also caught three passes for 25 yards.
Delaware State: The Hornets return to Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference action to face Norfolk State next Saturday.
West Virginia: Plays at Kansas next Saturday.
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