Justin Crawford did not play for much of the second half against Baylor because of an apparent injury.
The running back finished with just 30 yards on 10 carries against the Bears. It was far from his best performance, especially after he was used to putting up more than 100 yards in the first five games of the season.
Against Texas Tech, Crawford saw his production start to slip off as he finished with just 51 yards. The Mountaineers went away from their balanced attack in that game in order to come from behind and beat the Red Raiders.
The WVU football team may have played a little more conservatively against Baylor, but Crawford wasn’t even part of their offensive equation in the second half. After the game, head coach Dana Holgorsen reported that Crawford was “a little banged up,” according to the Daily Athenaeum.
The Daily Athenaeum also quoted offensive coordinator Jake Spavital whose gameplan has always tried to make the Mountaineers a more balanced team offensively. The WVU football team obviously has a great set of offensive weapons, mostly lining up at wide receiver and quarterback. But there are solid running backs the Mountaineers could run, as well. The Mountaineers may have fallen accustomed to Crawford carrying the workload, though. Getting a majority of the carries may have worn him down early this season.
“We’ve been running him a lot these past few games and I think it was a time when he communicated with us, and he said he was going to go,” Spavital told th DA. “As he kept going on, he was trying to force himself out there and we were like let’s get (Kennedy) McKoy and (Martell) Pettaway. I’ve got a lot of confidence in those guys to go out there and run the ball.”
Up until the last two games, Crawford has carried the ball at least 13 times a game. Averaging 16 carries per game through the first five games of the season, Crawford tallied more than 100 yards in each of those games.
His highest amount of carries was 19 in the loss against TCU. His most yards in a game this season came against Kansas as he hit 125. He has the potential to do even more than that, if he’s given the opportunity.
If Justin Crawford can find a game where he can run the ball 20 or more times, he can put up at least 150 yards. That would help take some of the pressure off Will Grier and the receivers.
He won’t be able to take 20 carries, though, if he remains banged up. The past two games have allowed Justin Crawford to rest a bit. The rest of the way, he needs to be healthy to see even more of a workload.