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West Virginia Hangs On In The Desert, Defeats Arizona State In The Cactus Bowl 43-42


Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The West Virginia Mountaineers picked up their first bowl win since the 2012 Orange Bowl in a wild late night thriller against the Arizona State Sun Devils. The Mountaineers once again defeated a Todd Graham coached team by one point, this time to the tune of 43-42.

Everything we thought we knew about the West Virginia offense this season went out the window tonight. West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard had a record breaking performance with 532 passing yards and 5 touchdowns, the most single bowl game passing yards and touchdowns for a West Virginia quarterback. Howard threw touchdowns to four different receivers, two of which went to Dakiel Shorts on identical fade routes. Shelton Gibson lead all receivers with 143 yards and a touchdown, followed by Ka'Raun White who had his best game as a Mountaineer with 116 yards receiving. Rushel Shell and Wendell Smallwood didn't get the same production we have come to expect from them, but did add 103 yards combined on the ground including a 24 yard rush by Smallwood that set the Mountaineers up for the go ahead touchdown late in the 4th quarter.

The West Virginia defense gave up 418 yards through the air and 102 yards on the ground, but were able to stop the Sun Devils when it really counted.

West Virginia is now 15-19 all-time in bowl games.