MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – In WVU’s 26-11 victory over SEC opponent Missouri on Saturday, running back Justin Crawford showed off the wheels surpassing the 100-yard mark in his first ever game as a Mountaineer.
On 21 rush attempts, he compiled 110 yards while averaging 4.8 YPC. He also found the endzone for his first career touchdown and was active in the passing game collecting five catches.
“I thought he did a great job of playing within the game,” said running backs coach JuJuan Seider. “He didn’t try to force anything. I thought he stayed within the system, took the ball where it was supposed to go and he did a great job of running out the contact, too, which was impressive.”
Coach Seider recruited Crawford out of Northwest Mississippi Community College where he earned JUCO Offensive Player of the Year honors in 2015. Seider says the plan for now is to ease Crawford (and other newcomers Kennedy McKoy & Martell Petteway) into the rushing system behind redshirt senior Rushel Shell.
In the meantime, head coach Dana Holgorsen plans to give Crawford more opportunities to make plays through the air.
“He’s (Crawford) competitive,” Holgorsen said. “He’s shifty. He’s got great ball skills . . . he’s a threat in the pass game. The more we use him in the backfield, much like we did with Wendell (Smallwood) last year, the least amount of touches he’ll get in the pass game. He’s a threat.”
When you throw fullback Elijah Wellman into the Shell-Crawford mix, the WVU ground game may be the perfect 1-2-3 punch.
“I thought No. 7 and No. 25 played well and I thought Eli (Elijah Wellman) did a great job when he got his opportunities, too,” Seider said.
Shell rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown while Wellman added 22 yards on three attempts.
As the Mountaineers prepare to take on Youngstown State of the Missouri Valley Football Conference this Saturday, Holgorsen and staff are sure of at least one thing: Justin Crawford is up to something.
I’ve hinted at it,” Holgorsen said. “He’s (Crawford) a good player. I think he’s just getting started, too.”
Cover Image Credit: wvusports.com