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Dashing success a brilliant spot for WVU this season

Nov. 25—MORGANTOWN—The prevailing sentiment surrounding the 2022 WVU soccer season has undoubtedly been disappointing. One space the place the Mountaineers have been something however, nevertheless, has been working the soccer.

An space of ​​focus for coach Neal Brown coming into the 12 months, the Mountaineers have run the ball with a excessive degree of success all through the season utilizing a complete steady of working backs. With 192 yards towards Oklahoma State within the season finale Saturday (midday, ESPN2) WVU might surpass 2,000 dashing yards for the primary time since dashing for two,969 in 2016.

All 4 of the primary working backs WVU have used this season—CJ Donaldson, Tony Mathis, Justin Johnson and Jaylen Anderson—have flashed skill this 12 months with all 4 sustaining a yards-per-carry common above 4.4.

“(Place coach) Chad (Scott) does a extremely good job teaching these guys,” Brown mentioned. “In any room that you have competitors, you are likely to get higher. And that is a room that has numerous competitors.”

Donaldson, a freshman transformed tight finish, was the primary to seize the highlight. He used his 6-2, 240-pound body to rumble for 125 yards and a landing within the season-opener towards Pittsburgh. In WVU’s first 4 video games, Donaldson ran for 380 yards and 6 scores.

When Donaldson went down at Texas and missed a while, Mathis broke out with 163 yards and two touchdowns in a 43-40 win over Baylor. Johnson ran for a season-high 83 yards in a 33-10 win over Virginia Tech and Anderson was the most recent again to impress, dashing for 69 yards on simply seven carries final week towards Kansas State.

“Jaylen’s a child with a complete lot of expertise,” offensive coordinator Graham Harrell mentioned. “I believe from when he bought right here to now, like with most individuals going from highschool to varsity, he simply needed to develop up a bit bit. I believe figuring out he was going to have a chance to get some reps helped him develop up in a rush.”

Whereas all 4 backs have proven some apparent skill, they like wouldn’t have gotten very far with out the blockers in entrance of them this season, a gaggle Brown made certainty to spotlight.

“We have one of many higher offensive traces in our league,” Brown mentioned. “In the event you take a look at a few of our dashing marks, we’re up there towards a few of the higher folks of having the ability to run the ball versus our higher defences, which was type of our objective coming into the 12 months.

“And I believe that (tight ends Brian) Polendey and Treylan Davis are quietly having actually good years blocking. They’re all the time type of undervalued, however they seem to be a large piece of it.”

WVU has topped the century mark in dashing eight occasions this season, together with towards powerful opponents resembling Baylor (217), TCU (155), Oklahoma (203) and Kansas State (153). The Mountaineers have rushed for greater than 200 yards in all 4 of their wins this season.

Donaldson, who missed the final third of the season with an harm, completed the 12 months with 526 yards and eight touchdowns. Mathis, who has been restricted with a nagging harm, is as much as 549 and 5 scores with one recreation left.

Johnson and Anderson, each underclassmen, bought the majority of the work towards Kansas State and that might be the case once more heading into Saturday. In that case, it is going to be one closing probability this season to see a few younger Mountaineers present their potential. Particularly Anderson, who has solely 21 touches this season however is raved about by coaches for his skill.

“I’ve stood up right here for 2 years and talked about how gifted (Anderson) is and that he is simply bought to place it collectively and now you are seeing that,” Brown mentioned.

“He is all the time been good with the soccer in his hand,” Graham added. “So long as he is been right here, I am positive that is not been arduous to see. When he has the soccer in his fingers, he has a reasonably good talent set.

“A talent set that may make you miss, can catch the ball out of the backfield and if he can get the powerful yards, you may have a reasonably particular participant.”

TWEET—@CodyNespor

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