WVU football will need a better running game at Baylor

LAWRENCE, KS - SEPTEMBER 23: Justin Crawford
LAWRENCE, KS - SEPTEMBER 23: Justin Crawford /

A balanced offense will benefit the WVU football team this week at Baylor.

If the WVU football team wants to improve to 5-2 on the year, while keeping the Bears winless, there needs to be a more productive rushing attack than what was deployed against Texas Tech.

Even though the Mountaineers came from behind to beat the Red Raiders, 46-35, the game could have gone either way. The WVU football team was saved by its quarterback Will Grier and talented receivers who could go up and get the ball.

The running backs are talented, too, especially with Justin Crawford as the second leading rusher in the Big 12 Conference. Oklahoma State’s Justice Hill leads the conference with 633 yards on the year, an average of 105 per game. Crawford has 609 yards for an average of 101 per game.

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The Cowboys and Mountaineers are alike in many ways, which makes the Oct. 28 game so much more intriguing. This week against Baylor, the WVU football team needs to try and mimic the Cowboys because they instill a fairly balanced offense.

Oklahoma State features both the top passer and the top rusher in the league. Mason Rudolph has been as valuable to Oklahoma State as Will Grier has been to the WVU football team. The OSU offense runs so smoothly, it’s easy for any other team to aspire to be on its level. However, the Mountaineers are close.

If the WVU football can utilize its rushers to the best ability, it has a better shot of winning games. In an interview with Jim Butta of the Wheeling Intelligencer, offensive assistant coach Tony Dews relayed that the running game needs to improve.

"“We know, looking ahead, that we’ve got to run the ball better. And, I think you will see us go back to the running game at times. But, Jake (Spavital) and Dana (Holgorsen) understand that you have to take what the defense gives you.”"

Opposing defensive know the Mountaineers are going to pass the ball. TCU made it tough on the WVU football team to pass early on. The Horned Frogs knew to double team the Mountaineers’ top receivers in David Sills and Gary Jennings. It was very frustrating to see the offense struggle in the first half in that game. When it came time to mount a comeback later, it was too late.

Against TCU, the Mountaineers ran for a total of 142 yards, which isn’t bad considering they only netted 44 against Texas Tech. Justin Crawford ran for 111 yards in the loss at TCU.

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The Baylor aims to stop West Virginia’s threatening passing attack, Crawford will have the chance to go for more than 100 yards again. Kennedy McKoy and Tevin Bush should also see an appropriate amount of carries to make the offense more balanced.