|Gary Jennings Jr.||6||97||16.2||3||33|
|David Sills V||2||33||16.5||0||19|
On a rainy evening in Morgantown, the #14 West Virginia Mountaineers (2-0) defeated the Youngstown State Penguins (0-2) 52-17. It was a bit of a slow start for the offense, but West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen didn’t contribute that to the weather.
“Coach (Bo) Pelini is a really good football coach, he did some things defensively that had us kind of scrambling a little bit early.” Said Holgorsen. “They showed us 4-0 box or 4-1 box most of the time and I though (Quarterback) Will Grier did a great job of getting us into the right plays and they just rallied to it.”
After quarterback Will Grier threw an interception on the opening drive, the Mountaineer offense drove down the field, on their second possession, 99 yards for the touchdown, behind 72 yards rushing on 8 carries. Running back Alec Sinkfield finished the drive on a sweep from nine yards out for the touchdown.
The Mountaineers went up 14-0 on a 10 play 68-yard drive, highlighted by Will Grier connecting with wide receiver Gary Jennings for an 11-yard touchdown pass.
The Penguins answered on the ensuing drive. Two pass interference penalties nearly made up half the drive, but quarterback Montgomery Vangorder led his offense on 3-5 passing for 23 yards and a touchdown.
Will Grier put his two-minute offense into motion right before the half, going 4-4 for 53 yards and hooking up with Gary Jennings for their second touchdown of the day, this time from 24 yards out.
The Mountaineers went into halftime with a 21-7 lead.
The West Virginia defense started the second half holding Youngstown State to a three and out. This makes back to back games the defense started the second half with a three and out.
After a 39-yard punt, the Mountaineer offense took over at midfield and wasted no time getting into the endzone. Running back Leddie Brown had two carries for 20 yards and Will Grier hit Gary Jennings for a 33-yard touchdown pass, giving both Grier and Jennings three touchdowns on the day.
Youngstown responded quickly with a touchdown of their own. The Penguins went 75 yards in six plays. The bulk of the drive came from a Vangorder pass to receiver Zach Farrar for 40 yards and running back Tevin McCaster punched it in from 13 yards out.
West Virginia responded with a 14 play 82-yard drive to take a 35-14 lead. Grier connected with Marcus Simms three times on the drive for 69 yards and Leddie Brown put up six from the one-yard line.
The Mountaineers started to pull away from the penguins. Safety Dravon Askew-Henry intercepted VanGorders pass at the Penguin 34 and the Mountaineers wasted no time putting into the endzone. Running back Kennedy McKoy had two carries for 34 yards and the touchdown, putting the Mountaineers up 42-14.
The Penguins put their final scoring drive together late in the third quarter. They didn’t get a touchdown, but kicker Zak Kennedy hit a field goal from 45 yards out.
After Martell Pettaway returned the kickoff 37 yards to the 50, he then ran for 10 yards on the first play of the drive, setting up a 40-yard touchdown pass from Grier to wide receiver Dominque Maiden.
Back-up quarterback Jack Allison came in on the next offensive possession for the Mountaineers. It was a heavy dose of the running game, but Allison did go 1-3 on the drive. Evan Staley hit a field goal from 31 yards to give the Mountaineers the 52-17 lead.
After the game, Dana was happy to end the day with a win. “Glad this week is over, honestly.” Said Holgorsen. “It was just kind of a tough week for all of us after coming off that big win last week. We talked all week about respecting our opponent, which I think we did. At the end of the day, we got through with a victory. The kids played hard, his (Bo Pelini) group played hard. We expected that, we got that, and I’m, glad we got that. It’s going to make us better. Looking forward to putting this behind us and moving forward. Goal was to be 2-0 and we’re 2-0, so I’m happy with that.”