MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – Skyler Howard tied a career high with five touchdown passes, leading West Virginia to a 38-21 win over Youngstown State on Saturday.
The Mountaineers (2-0) broke the game open with 24 unanswered points after falling behind 14-7 early in the second quarter.
Youngstown State (1-1) appeared to wear down in the second half on a hot day. The Penguins punted on six straight possessions spanning both halves, allowing West Virginia to take control.
West Virginia’s defense repeatedly forced Youngstown State quarterback Ricky Davis out of the pocket and into hurried throws or scrambling to run up field.
Howard didn’t let a rib injury sustained last week to hold him back. He completed 20 of 33 passes for 389 yards.
Once he got going, Howard made it look simple. On three of his scoring throws, Youngstown State’s secondary was caught helping with run support, and Howard threw the ball far downfield and let his receivers get to the ball, often in double coverage.
Howard had TD pass plays of 54 and 57 yards to Shelton Gibson, 53 yards to Ka’Raun White, 11 to Daikiel Shorts and 21 yards to Kennedy McKoy. Shorts’ third-quarter catch in the left corner of the end zone was set up by Gibson’s 45-yard reception.
YOUNGSTOWN STATE: With starting running back Jody Webb out with a knee injury, Davis kept the Penguins in the game for at least a half.
WEST VIRGINIA: Howard’s injury doesn’t appear to be slowing him. But the slow-starting Mountaineers will need to work on scoring earlier in games and also more often when they reach the opponents’ 20-yard line. In two games West Virginia has touchdowns on one of seven total trips inside the red zone.
YOUNGSTOWN STATE: The Penguins host Robert Morris next Saturday, a team the beat 21-14 in overtime last year.
WEST VIRGINIA: The Mountaineers have a bye week before facing BYU for the first time in program history on Sept. 24 in Landover, Maryland.
(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)