MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Will Grier threw three touchdown passes, Justin Crawford ran for three scores and West Virginia beat Delaware State 59-16 on Saturday.
The Mountaineers (2-1) compiled 538 yards of offense against an FCS team that lost its 14th straight game. But West Virginia made plenty of problems on both sides of the ball in its final tuneup before the start of Big 12 play.
Grier finished 19 of 27 for 304 yards before being replaced by backup Chris Chugunov late in the third quarter. Grier had TD throws of 62 and 16 yards to Marcus Simms and 28 yards to Ka’Raun White.
Crawford had scoring runs of 2, 3 and 9 yards and finished with 102 yards on 15 carries for his third straight 100-yard effort.
Delaware State (0-3) had 301 yards of offense, its highest output of the season.
West Virginia scored touchdowns on six of its 10 first-half possessions, two of which took less than a minute, and led 45-10 at halftime. The other possessions were head scratchers. West Virginia fumbled the ball away twice and Grier threw an interception in the first half.
Grier also fumbled twice on the same series deep in West Virginia territory, the second of which was recovered by Delaware State that led to a field goal.
Grier was off target on short throws into the end zone to David Sills and Gary Jennings, who couldn’t hang on. Sills also dropped a pass with plenty of open field ahead of him. And Jennings’ second-quarter fumble that stopped another promising drive prompted some boos.
Grier eventually settled down and threw eight straight completions.
On defense, West Virginia’s coaches wanted a more consistent effort from a unit that had allowed an average of 470 yards. It didn’t happen. The long runs and blown pass coverages that plagued the Mountaineers over their first two games kept on coming.
Delaware State caught West Virginia’s secondary napping on its first series. Freshman Jack McDaniels found Nyfease West alone along the left sideline and he went 81 yards untouched for a touchdown.
The Hornets had six runs of at least 10 yards, including Brycen Alleyne’s 47-yarder in the first quarter. West Virginia cornerback Mike Daniels also was called for a roughing penalty after an incomplete pass to give Delaware State a first down.
Delaware State: Despite a strong start with 10 points in the game’s first 10 minutes, Delaware State couldn’t keep up. The Hornets start three sophomores and two freshmen on its offensive line and seven sophomores on defense. McDaniels completed seven of 12 passes for 114 yards.
West Virginia: Simms gives the Mountaineers a solid speed threat at wide receiver. He now has three TDs in two games after serving a one-game suspension against Virginia Tech in the opener following his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving. … West Virginia’s miscues also involved special teams. Delaware State’s Brycen Allen returned a kickoff 49 yards. And David Sills was flagged for running into Delaware State’s punter.
Delaware State: The Hornets return to Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference action to face Norfolk State next Saturday.
West Virginia: Plays at Kansas next Saturday.
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