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WVU Running Game Won’t Suffer Without Crawford in Heart of Dallas Bowl

Now that Justin Crawford is not playing in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, one question is being asked. How effective will the Mountaineer rushing offense be? On the surface, it looks like it hurts. But underneath it all, WVU still has a dangerous and effective running game. Crawford rushed for his second consecutive 1,000 yard season as the senior racked up 1,060 yards and averaged 5.5 yards per carry this season. It’s a takeaway that many teams would loathe. But not the Mountaineers. Dana Holgorsen has developed great depth at the running back position. And with depth comes the ability to cope when one of the best players won’t be playing in a game. WVU has three guys who have the ability to step up and show everyone how good they actually are.

Next Man Up:

Kennedy McKoy:

Kennedy McKoy had a solid sophomore campaign. The Lexington, NC native rushed for 570 yards on 111 carries. McKoy has been a good complement to Crawford and now is his time to shine. He finished the season with 137 yards against Oklahoma and was superb in the Wildcat offense. An offense the Mountaineers never ran until that game. With Grier out for the bowl game, expect to see more of the Wildcat with McKoy leading the charge. He also knows his way to the end zone, scoring a tied team high seven touchdowns on the ground. McKoy has a good combination of power, speed, and field vision. He has carried the Mountaineers at times this year when Crawford struggled to get yards.

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McKoy has proven himself this season to be the new premier back for WVU.

Martell Pettaway:

Martell Pettaway will also see an extended workload. Pettaway, a three-star recruit from Detroit, is a capable Back that has been highly touted since high school. While he hasn’t seen many carries this season (41 total carries), he definitely has the skill set to become a premier back in Morgantown. Good speed and excellent field vision is why Pettaway is so dangerous. Watch for him to be more effective later in the game as he gets in sync with the offensive line with more reps. He’s already had several great performances in two seasons in Morgantown and expect many more to come.

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Pettaway’s biggest game came last season against Iowa State when the then freshman rushed for 181 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries


Tevin Bush:

Bush is another running back that hasn’t seen a lot of action, but has a lot of potential. He’s a little guy, listed at 5’5″ and 168 lbs, but little guys have thrived at WVU.¬†One thing he isn’t small on is speed. The freshman can flat-out scoot. He’s versatile and has all of the essential tools to be a good scatback for the Mountaineers. If WVU comes out with the Wildcat offense again, expect to hear Bush’s name called a lot in the game. Averaging 4.1 yards per carry in limited carries, Bush could be the guy to stand out against Utah. Holgorsen has a few plays for a guy like Bush that he should dial up tomorrow.

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Bush is often compared to Tavon Austin for his speed, agility, versatility, and being undersized. Austin was selected 8th overall in the 2013 NFL Draft.

Saying that the Mountaineers ground game will be fine without Crawford is a tall order. I’m going out on a limb, but it isn’t a long one. Especially with the potential of these three guys. One thing that won’t be missed is Crawford’s ball handling struggles. Crawford has coughed up the ball on big carries several times in close games. Opponents have scored on all but one of those turnovers. If the Mountaineers can get success on the ground out of either Pettaway or Bush, expect the running game to be just as good or better than it has been this season.