It looked good at the start, then bad for a while, then good again for the better part of the game. It was a lopsided seesaw battle for the first half, but the Mountaineers seized control when it mattered in the second half.
The Mountaineers got a quick score on their initial drive with Rushel Shell breaking free for a 54 yard touchdown scamper. Despite the early offensive success, the defense took a while to get their footing as Iowa St. proceeded to rip off 21 straight points as the Cyclone offense was able to take advantage of yet another WVU fumble.
Skyler Howard got the start for an inactive Clint Trickett and led the Mountaineer offense to another 500+ yard afternoon, leading WVU back into the game with 20 straight points. Howard's running certainly gave the WVU offense another dimension that Iowa St. had to account for as he finished with 69 yards on 7 carries to go along with his 285 yard, 3 touchdown passing day.
The defense that struggled in the first half managed to settle down and corral two interceptions from Sam Richardson. Hard hitting was the name of the game today. Unfortunately it also managed to get first time starter Shaq Petteway ejected on a targeting foul early in the 3rd quarter. Petteway will have to miss the first half of the bowl game as a result of the ejection.
Balance was achieved on offense as both the passing game and rushing game yielded 285 yards apiece for a total of 570 yards on the day. Shell led the WVU rushing attack with 146 yards. Mario Alford led the receiving corps with 5 catches for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns. Howard definitely was able to spread the wealth as 5 Mountaineers caught 4 passes or more and 7 caught at least one pass.
It wasn't exactly pretty, but it got the Mountaineers off the schneid and heading into the as yet to be determined bowl game (*ahem, Liberty Bowl) on a positive note.