Twenty-one West Virginia seniors, who were freshmen during the 4-8 season in 2013, helped deliver Mountaineer fans their first 10 win regular season since 2007. West Virginia held off the Baylor’s late fourth quarter comeback attempt to defeat the Bears 24-21 in Morgantown.
It wasn’t the prettiest game, by any means, and many West Virginia fans were on the edge of their seats throughout the entirety of the game. Mountaineer quarterback Skyler Howard, who made headlines earlier this week with his comments about being booed by the home fans, entered the game to a standing ovation.
Skyler Howard is introduced to the loudest ovation on Senior Day at #WVU. pic.twitter.com/4nZAV54NT9— Geoff Coyle (@GFCoyle) December 3, 2016
It wouldn’t take long, however, for West Virginia fans to start wringing their hands and worrying about the outcome with Howard under center. Skyler looked very shaky to start the game and, although he didn’t throw an interception in the game, errant passes kept the Mountaineer faithful holding their breath.
Howard would go on to finish the game 10-of-26 passing for 111 yards and two touchdowns, and 26 yards and a touchdown on 12 rushing attempts. Justin Crawford led the charge for the Mountaineers on the ground, finishing with 209 yards on 28 carries. Martell Pettaway, who saw action for the first time last week against Iowa State, added 63 yards on 16 carries.
In the receiving game, Gary Jennings led the team with 3 receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown. Daikiel Shorts also hauled in three passes, one of which resulted in a touchdown thanks to a pretty incredible catch deep in the endzone.
ICYMI: What a catch by Daikiel Shorts Jr. for the touchdown! #SeniorDay https://t.co/A1I1FnuBeZ— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) December 3, 2016
The Mountaineer defense had another solid outing, forcing two fumbles and coming away with two interceptions. Marvin Gross Jr. was a star for Tony Gibson’s DAWGS, accounting for half of West Virginia’s forced turnovers. Senior Justin Arndt led the Mountaineers with nine tackles, followed by cornerback Elijah Battle with seven. Rasul Douglas had a quiet game with only two tackles, but nearly came away with a forced fumble and recovery that was overturned after review.
The Mountaineers will now wait to find out which bowl game they’ll be making the trip to. The current favorite right now is the Russell Athletic Bowl on December 29th in Orlando, FL against an ACC opponent. Perhaps a bowl brawl with a certain team from the north is in the cards.