The West Virginia Mountaineers move to 9-2 on the season, their best since joining the Big 12 Conference, after soundly defeating the Iowa State Cyclones 49-19 in the 2016 Riot Bowl. The coveted Gas Can Trophy will stay with the Mountaineers.
The Mountaineers jumped out to an early 7-3 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard had a bit of a redeeming performance, after a few less than stellar outings in the past couple weeks. Howard finished the day 12-for-21 passing for 330 yards and five touchdowns, as well as 48 yards on 9 carries on the ground. Wide receiver Shelton Gibson had an outstanding performance, finishing with 161 yards and two touchdowns on only three receptions. True freshman Marcus Simms had a very good game, as well, going 76 yards and a touchdown on three catches after coming in to replace an injured Ka’Raun White.
The biggest story of the game was the injury riddled West Virginia running back corps and the subsequent burning of Martell Pettaway’s redshirt. Dana Holgorsen was forced to turn Pettaway loose after Justin Crawford exited the game with what appeared to be a knee injury. Martell proceeded to leave a lasting impression on West Virginia and Iowa State fans, alike, although I’m sure the Iowa State fans don’t care to see more from the sensation from Detroit, MI. Pettaway finished the game with 181 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries. We are in good hands for the next couple years, I believe.
West Virginia will return to Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown next Saturday to close out the regular season against the once highly-touted, but now extremely pantsed Baylor Bears with a shot to unlock the 10-win season achievement.