Kennedy McKoy had a dandy of an opportunity as the WVU football team face Utah in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
But like quarterback Chris Chugunov, he failed to meet any sort of expectation that would have the WVU faithful feeling good about next year. With Justin Crawford graduating, Kennedy McKoy will be the starting running back next season.
That’s if he is ready to carry the load. Like the performance in the bowl game, McKoy was rather underwhelming as a sophomore this past season. The 6-foot, 200-pound running back has a nice physique and a strong carrying style, but none of that came into play against Utah.
Some of that wasn’t McKoy’s fault. Like the Mountaineers being without their starting running back and starting quarterback (Will Grier), two starting offensive linemen were also missing. The offensive line could not contain the Utes and they were in the backfield all day containing McKoy and Chugunov.
The offense got no push up front and therefore stalled on almost every occasion. McKoy finished with 31 yards on 14 attempts against Utah. His longest run went for just seven yards. The week before, he had a long run of 36 yards.
More from Hail WV
- Every West Virginia potential March Madness venue in 2023 NCAA Tournament
- West Virginia March Madness Schedule: When do the Mountaineers play next? (Updated March 12)
- West Virginia vs. Kansas prediction and odds for Saturday, February 25 (Take Mountaineers as underdogs)
- WVU Football Recruiting: Mountaineers make Malik Hartford’s short list
- Previewing WVU basketball against Oklahoma State
In his first full season with the Mountaineers, McKoy had 596 yards on the year. His output against Oklahoma was his highest of the season with 137 yards. He also went over the 100-yard mark against Kansas earlier in the year. As a backup, McKoy did an admirable job this season. But is he ready for the next step?
He will be promoted to the starting role, it looks like. But he will also have some guys behind him pushing for their own starting role. Tevin Bush, Martell Pettaway and Alec Sinkfield are all highly regarded players who will see extended action in the years to come. Hopefully, the competition will bring out the best in them all.
McKoy still possesses the greatest skill of all available running backs next season. What else needs to improve on offense are the play calls. Even though they are close friends, Dana Holgorsen and Jake Spavital seem to be at a crossroads on the direction of the WVU football offense. That needs to be figured out this offseason before West Virginia places any goals for itself.
McKoy has some development to do himself. By getting stronger in the offseason, he can help his own cause of securing this starting job and giving Mountaineer Nation the extra confidence it surely needs.