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2016 Russell Athletic Bowl

S E A S O N I N R E V I E W WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY MOUNTAINEERS STAY UNBEATEN, SLIP BY KANSAS STATE Game 4 • Oct. 1, 2016 • West Virginia 17, Kansas State 16 • Morgantown, WV West Virginia was looking for its first Big 12 victory over Kansas State in four tries and finally broke through in the fifth effort with a 17-16 win over the Wildcats in front of 61,701 on Homecoming at Milan Puskar Stadium. While the offense struggled in the first half, the West Virginia defense kept the Mountaineers in the game by holding Kansas State to three field goals on key possessions and keeping the Wildcats out of the end zone. Kansas State’s chance for the road win ended with 2:03 remaining, when Matthew McCrane missed a 43-yard field goal, enabling the Mountaineers to run out the clock. With Kansas State leading 16-10, the Mountaineer defense continued to keep the game close with a three-and out on the Wildcats’ next two drives. With the sellout crowd back in the game, Skyler Howard started the winning drive with 8:18 left to play. Nine snaps later, he found Jovon Durante for a seven-yard scoring toss to give the Mountaineers their first lead. Howard finished with 298 yards passing, Justin Crawford added 104 yards rushing and Shelton Gibson had 104 yards receiving to lead the WVU offense. Jarrod Harper paced the defense with eight tackles. MOUNTAINEERS MOVE TO 5-0 WITH 48-17 WIN Game 5 • Oct. 15, 2016 • West Virginia 48, Texas Tech 17 • Lubbock, TX West Virginia gained an important Big 12 road victory with a dominating 48-17 victory over Texas Tech at Jones AT&T Stadium. Texas Tech entered the Big 12 matchup as the No. 1 passing team in the nation and No. 2 in total offense and scoring, but that was before the Red Raiders met West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson and his 3-3-5 defense. The Mountaineer defense dominated the Red Raider offense, holding it to a season low in points, breaking its 50-point home scoring streak and limiting the Texas Tech rushing attack to just 34 yards. Meanwhile, the Mountaineer offense clicked on many cylinders with a 100-yard receiver and rusher, the highest scoring output of the season and outgaining the Red Raiders by 271 yards. Skyler Howard turned in more than 400 yards of total offense with 318 yards passing and 89 yards rushing. Daikiel Shorts reached 100 yards receiving on just three catches. Final totals showed West Virginia with 332 yards rushing and 318 passing for a balanced 650 yards of total offense. Texas Tech finished with 34 yards on the ground and 345 through the air for a final total of 379 yard of offense. WVU CLIMBS TO 12TH WITH 34-10 WIN OVER TCU Game 6 • Oct. 22, 2016 • West Virginia 34, TCU 10 • Morgantown, WV West Virginia used four touchdown passes from Skyler Howard and another great defensive effort to defeat TCU, 34-10, in front of 61,780 fans at Milan Puskar Stadium. The game was West Virginia’s most complete of the season. Howard completed 70 percent of his passes and threw touchdown passes of 10, 22, 11 and 16 yards in leading the Mountaineer offense. The WVU special teams forced two fumbles, with one leading to a touchdown, while the defense held the Horned Frogs scoreless in the second half and well below their more than 40-point scoring average. The win raised the West Virginia record to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the Big 12. It marked the first time the Mountaineers have started the season 6-0 since 2006. 9 0 2 0 1 6 R U S S E L L AT H L E T I C B O W L Jovon Durante Christian Brown Rushel Shell III


2016 Russell Athletic Bowl
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