West Virginia collects their 2nd W over Liberty University, 41-17
The West Virginia Mountaineers came out to capitalize on the momentum from their win over Georgia Southern last weekend and collected another early season win against Liberty University. The offensive push began early in the game with an 11-play push down field that resulted in a 28-yard field goal completed by Josh Lambert and shortly after, Lambert scored another 3 points for the Mountaineers after a 34-yard scramble from Skylar Howard put the ball on the Liberty 13-yard line.
When the Mountaineers gained their next possession of the game, Howard wasted no time putting the ball in red-shirt sophomore Wide Receiver Shelton Gibson’s hands for a 52-yard run resulting in a touchdown. Less than 10 minutes later, WVU’s Wendell Smallwood carried the ball a short 4 yards into the Liberty Endzone and fumbled, but was able to recover the ball at the bottom of the pile for a 0-yard fumble recovery. True freshman receiver Jovon Durante impressed his teammates with a team-best 7-catches resulting in a total of 60-yards, including a 10-yard touchdown in the 3rd quarter.
Liberty was able to finally breach the Mountaineer defense that was on a 6 1/2 quarter scoreless streak when Todd Macon was able to carry the ball in from the 7-yard line. Halfway through the final quarter, Liberty scored their final touchdown with a 60-yard push by Liberty’s John Woodrum and Zac Parker.
William Crest Jr. played for a hefty amount of time in place of Howard in the fourth quarter and was able to complete 6-of-6 passes for a total of 50-yards. Smallwood capitalized off of one of those passes and marked his second touchdown of the game with 3:36 remaining in the fourth.
|Player||Completions / Attempts||Yards||TDs||INTs|
|Skyler Howard, QB||21/26||263||3||0|
Skylar Howard has clearly been working hard to prove he is cutout to serve as the Mountaineer’s No.1 QB this season. Howard was patient against the Liberty Flames for most of the game as he faced a defense that specializes in forcing teams to really work for the big plays. Howard combined with Smallwood and Rushel Shell in a nostalgic running game that WVU has been lacking for a long time. That, combined with Howard’s shorter passes, led to WVUs second win of the season at Milan Puskar Stadium.
Howard completed one of his most productive games since wearing the WVU jersey with 14 consecutive pass completions during the third quarter. Howard has yet to throw an interception in his Mountaineer career. Head Coach Dana Holgorsen remarked to the media after the game that Howard is “a good football player [and] a good quarterback.”
The Mountaineer offense made major strides this game after the win last weekend over Georgia Southern. There were several key players who teamed up with Howard to get the win against the Flames, but Wendell Smallwood gave an outstanding performance, collecting two touchdowns for the WVU victory.
The first Smallwood touchdown was a result of a 7-yard carry into the Liberty Endzone, but as Smallwood was coming down with the ball, it was stripped from his hands. Smallwood battled at the bottom of the pile up to regain possession and record a 0-yard fumble recovery. Late in the 4th quarter, Smallwood tallied his second touchdown after a 75-yard offensive drive led by backup QB William Crest Jr. His 5-yard carry into the Endzone gave WVU the resulting 41-17 win over Liberty.
The Mountaineers will be taking the next two weeks to prepare for their border-rival Maryland, who they play Saturday Sept. 26th at home. In the meantime, submit your photos of your Mountaineer tailgate to our “Best Mountaineer Tailgate” contest for a chance to win a FREE Mountaineer World tailgating tent and don’t forget to shop at Mountaineer World for all of your WVU football jerseys, tailgating equipment, and more!