We could refer to WVU 2016 football season as the ‘Next-Man-up’ season. This season started-off with having to replace many defensive stars. Then came the injury to future defensive stars and leaders, such as Safety Dravon Askew-Henry. The injuries kept coming on both offense and defense, and WVU didn’t miss a beat.
Early in the season offensive tackle goes down with a season ending injury to offensive tackle redshirt sophomore Yodny Cajuste and he is replaced by freshman Colton McKivitz, who has played extremely well.
With injuries to running backs Rushel Shell III, Justin Crawford, and Kennedy McKoy, the redshirt of freshman Martell Pettaway was burned. In his first game (WVU vs Iowa State) he had 30 carries for 181 yards.
Against Oklahoma WVU safety junior Kazir White goes down with an injury to his hand, and in comes redshirt junior Marvin Gross Jr. Against Baylor Gross does something no other defensive player has done in the 128 history of WVU football. Gross recorded 2-sacks, 1 interception and 1 forced fumble.
With the focus on senior running Rushel Shell, in comes junior Justin Crawford who rushes 157 times for 1168 yards.
This team is unselfish and loaded with stars. Senior CB Rasul Douglas is one of the nations best college cornerbacks. He is tied for the most interception with 8; has 7 pass break-ups, 1 forced fumble, 11 sacks, and 13 tackles for a loss.
One player, being a WV boy myself, that I am proud of is senior linebacker Justin Arndt. Arndt, a walk-on has had 55 solo tackles, 25 assist tackles, 7 tackles for a loss, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 pass break-up and forced 1 QB hurry.
All season long we have heard the coaches brag on these players, and many others. The coaches nor players failed to credit the players mentioned here, and many others who stepped and played well when their numbers were called.
Depth wasn’t an issue at any position this season. This was due to good recruiting, a quality stable of coaches, and players who had united desire to win. This team isn’t about personal records. This team is about winning.
This season this team did something that only had been 8 times in the history of WVU football and that was win 10 regular season games while losing only 2. With WVU’s upcoming bowl game this team could have an 11 win season.
WVU ended the regular season 2nd in the Big 12 Standings. This is their best Big 12 finish since joining the conference.
WVU’s 2 losses this season came at the hands of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State who are ranked in the Top 10. They will now meet Miami University on Wednesday, December 28, 2016 at 5:30 pm in Orlando, FL for the Russell Athletic Bowl.
With Holgorsen and his coaching staff being back for another season, this team is headed nowhere but up. Plus, there is a lot of returning talent on all 3 sides of the ball.
WVU fans will be seeing many of this year’s seniors playing on Sunday.