Like all West Virginia running backs, Alec Sinkfield had a rough 2019 season.
In the running back rotation with Kennedy McKoy, Leddie Brown and Martell Pettaway, Sinkfield only had 17 carries all of last season. He gained 41 yards and did not find the end zone.
As a part of WVU’s (2-1, 1-1 Big 12) revived ground attack this season, Sinkfield has already gained 187 yards on 28 carries and scored two touchdowns.
“His contact balance and his ability to win one-on-ones in space, those have been the biggest differences for him,” WVU coach Neal Brown said.
With McKoy and Pettaway both gone after last season, Sinkfield was in line to have a much bigger role in the Mountaineer offense this year. Leddie Brown is WVU’s featured back, but Sinkfield has been an important second option through the team’s first three games.
“That’s our one-two punch,” Leddie Brown said after Saturday’s win over Baylor. “I have a lot of faith in Sink. Sink has a lot of faith in me. We talk a lot throughout the week, on and off the field, that’s one of my closest friends on the team.”
As a team, the Mountaineers have run for 351 yards this season, already approaching their 879 total from 2019. Against Baylor Saturday, WVU ran for 134 yards.
Leddie Brown led the way with 93 yards, but Sinkfield contributed 53 of his own on just six carries. Sinkfield had carries of 11, 13 and 25 yards against the Bears. Sinkfield did so well with his limited carries, Neal Brown said he wishes he would have gotten Sinkfield more involved.
“[After a game] I always ask myself this question, ‘If I played the game tomorrow, what would I do?’,” Neal Brown said. “One of those is get Sinkfield more touches. He did a really nice job.”
Sinkfield is also WVU’s primary punt returner this season, although that is one area where the team has struggled early on. Sinkfield has returned six punts for 16 yards so far, with a long of only 11 yards.
“That’s one of the disappointing things that we’re not being able to get a punt return started,” Neal Brown explained. “I’d like to see what he can do if we can get him started.”
West Virginia is off this week but will return to action against Kansas on Oct. 17. That game will kick off at noon and be broadcast on Fox Sports 1.