ShareThis Page
WVU

Howard's 5 TDs lead West Virginia past Youngstown State

| Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, 6:12 p.m.
West Virginia receiver Shelton Gibson (1) catches a touchdown pass against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia receiver Shelton Gibson (1) catches a touchdown pass against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia coach Dana Holgerson reacts after a play against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia coach Dana Holgerson reacts after a play against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia running back Justin Crawford (25) is upended by Youngstown State safety Jameel Smith (26) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia running back Justin Crawford (25) is upended by Youngstown State safety Jameel Smith (26) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia safety Jarrod Harper (22) pumps up his team before taking the field against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia safety Jarrod Harper (22) pumps up his team before taking the field against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton (3) intercepts a pass intended for Youngstown State quarterback Hunter Wells (6) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton (3) intercepts a pass intended for Youngstown State quarterback Hunter Wells (6) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Youngstown State quarterback Ricky Davis (12) leaps toward the end zone protected by West Virginia safety Jeremy Tyler (2) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Youngstown State quarterback Ricky Davis (12) leaps toward the end zone protected by West Virginia safety Jeremy Tyler (2) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia kicker Mike Molina reacts to his kick against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia kicker Mike Molina reacts to his kick against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia coach Dana Holgerson reacts after a play against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia coach Dana Holgerson reacts after a play against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Running back Justin Crawford (25) rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and was the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year in 2016.
Tribune-Review
Running back Justin Crawford (25) rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and was the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year in 2016.
West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard (3) rushes against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard (3) rushes against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Youngstown State running back Martin Ruiz (29) reacts after his touchdown against West Virginia on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Youngstown State running back Martin Ruiz (29) reacts after his touchdown against West Virginia on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia defensive lineman Christian Brown (95) pressures Youngstown State quarterback Ricky Davis (12) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia defensive lineman Christian Brown (95) pressures Youngstown State quarterback Ricky Davis (12) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia coach Dana Holgerson reacts after a play against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia coach Dana Holgerson reacts after a play against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia receiver Ka'Raun White (2) catches a touchdown pass against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia receiver Ka'Raun White (2) catches a touchdown pass against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia receiver Daikiel Shorts (6) snags a touchdown pass past Youngstown State's Kenny Bishop on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia receiver Daikiel Shorts (6) snags a touchdown pass past Youngstown State's Kenny Bishop on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia's Antonio Crawford deflects a pass intended for Youngstown State receiver I'tavious Harvin (9) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia's Antonio Crawford deflects a pass intended for Youngstown State receiver I'tavious Harvin (9) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia receiver Shelton Gibson (1) rushes past Youngstown State's Kenny Bishop on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia receiver Shelton Gibson (1) rushes past Youngstown State's Kenny Bishop on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Youngstown State cornerback David Rivers (31) deflects a pass intended for West Virginia receiver Ka'Raun White (2) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Youngstown State cornerback David Rivers (31) deflects a pass intended for West Virginia receiver Ka'Raun White (2) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
WVU’s Antonio Crawford pressures Youngstown State’s Ryan Moore on Saturday. Mountaineers coaches criticized the defense after their 38-21 win.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
WVU’s Antonio Crawford pressures Youngstown State’s Ryan Moore on Saturday. Mountaineers coaches criticized the defense after their 38-21 win.
West Virginia coach Dana Holgerson paces the sideline during a game against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia coach Dana Holgerson paces the sideline during a game against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia receiver Shelton Gibson (1) catches a touchdown pass in front of Youngstown State's Kenny Bishop on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia receiver Shelton Gibson (1) catches a touchdown pass in front of Youngstown State's Kenny Bishop on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia receiver Daikiel Shorts (6) celebrates his touchdown with West Virginia offensive lineman Tyler Orlosky (65) against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia receiver Daikiel Shorts (6) celebrates his touchdown with West Virginia offensive lineman Tyler Orlosky (65) against Youngstown State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia running back Rushel Shell (7) rushes around Youngstown State defensive end Avery Moss (9) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia running back Rushel Shell (7) rushes around Youngstown State defensive end Avery Moss (9) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
West Virginia receiver Shelton Gibson catches a pass against Youngstown State defender Kenny Bishop. Gibson caught two touchdown passes in the Mountaineers' win.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
West Virginia receiver Shelton Gibson catches a pass against Youngstown State defender Kenny Bishop. Gibson caught two touchdown passes in the Mountaineers' win.
Youngstown State quarterback Nathan Mays (11) dives into the pylon against West Virginia linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton (3) and West Virginia cornerback Rasul Douglas (13) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
Youngstown State quarterback Nathan Mays (11) dives into the pylon against West Virginia linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton (3) and West Virginia cornerback Rasul Douglas (13) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
A cluster of Youngstown State and West Virginia linemen reach for a loose ball thrown by West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard (3) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.
Steph Chambers | Tribune-Review
A cluster of Youngstown State and West Virginia linemen reach for a loose ball thrown by West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard (3) on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.Va.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Last week against Missouri, the West Virginia offense was methodical, efficient and accurate, picking apart the Tigers in the intermediate passing game.

But the Mountaineers came up with a different plan Saturday: Draw in Youngstown State, then go for the kill.

“We said we were going to run the ball, run the ball, run the ball, and once those safeties came up, we were going to let it fly,” junior wide receiver Shelton Gibson said. “That's exactly what happened.”

That plan worked to perfection. Quarterback Skyler Howard threw for 389 yards and a career-high five touchdowns — three coming from more than 50 yards — as the Mountaineers (2-0) turned aside Youngstown State, 38-21, at Milan Puskar Stadium.

“It's simple: Go where the numbers aren't,” Howard said.

West Virginia's offensive explosion in the second half didn't come without trepidation. Youngstown State (1-1) took control of the tempo of the game early and briefly led in the second quarter after a 74-yard touchdown pass from Ricky Davis to Alvin Bailey.

The Mountaineers struggled in the first half to keep Youngstown State from methodically advancing down the field, and they missed a number of key tackles — a major component of what defensive coordinator Tony Gibson called a shameful performance.

“Horrible. Terrible,” Gibson said. “Couldn't tackle. Couldn't cover. I apologize to all West Virginia football fans and everybody who's ever played here on defense for that showing.”

Senior quarterback Skyler Howard connected on a pair of deep-ball touchdowns — 53 yards to Ka'Raun White and 54 yards to Gibson — the latter of which tied the game late in the second quarter. The Mountaineers drove again at the end of the half, but junior kicker Mike Molina shanked a last-second, 30-yard field goal that kept the score at 14-14.

But in the second half, West Virginia asserted its will. The Mountaineers pulled away in the third quarter, outgaining Youngstown State, 223-68, with Howard tossing touchdowns to senior Daikiel Shorts and Gibson.

Gibson finished with a career-high 171 yards on six catches, proving that after a relatively quiet season opener against Missouri, the chemistry between him and Howard on the deep ball is still there.

“When Skyler gives me that look, I already know,” Gibson said. “He doesn't even have to signal me anything. He can signal (anything), and I already know he's going to go deep. That's just the connection we have.”

Youngstown State found an offensive groove again in the fourth quarter after bringing in backup quarterback Trent Hosick, who made it 31-21 after a 15-yard touchdown scramble.

However, Howard hit freshman running back Kennedy McKoy with a 21-yard touchdown pass on the next drive to put the game away.

David Statman is a freelance writer.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me