Dana Holgorsen is considered an air-raid coach after working under Mike Leach, Kevin Sumlin and Mike Gundy. However, West Virginia is producing unmatched levels of offensive balance through five games.
West Virginia has produced a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher, and a 100-yard receiver in every game this season. The Mountaineers are the only team in the nation to reach that level of production.
Quarterback Will Grier and running back Justin Crawford are responsible for the 300-yard passing and 100-yard rushing games. Grier is one of just three quarterbacks to throw for 300 yards in every game, along with Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph and UCLA’s Josh Rosen. Stanford’s Bryce Love is the only other Power 5 running back to rush for 100 yards in every game.
Additionally, three different receivers have at least one 100-yard receiving game: David Sills, Gary Jennings and Ka’Raun White. It’s no wonder the Mountaineers rank No. 3 nationally in total offense.
To put these accomplishments in perspective, West Virginia has five games with a 300-yard passer, 100-yard rusher and 100-yard receiver. The rest of the Big 12 combined has six. Oklahoma – arguably the most explosive offense in the nation – doesn’t have one.
West Virginia came into the season with questions about skill-position talent. However, Grier and Crawford put those to bed quickly.
Crawford has been one of the most consistent running backs in the nation. Despite splitting carries and playing in one fewer game than some, Crawford ranks No. 18 nationally in rushing yards and No. 27 nationally in yards per carry. He has the least number of carries of any player in the top-20 in rushing yards.
“Crawford has been our guy in the backfield,” Holgorsen said. “His consistency is something I’ve been very pleased with.”
Backup Kennedy McCoy has helped balance the running game. He has 216 yards on 38 carries.
Grier has been better than advertised. He ranks No. 6 nationally with 348 passing yards per game. He has accomplished that despite playing Virginia Tech and TCU, which have two of the top defenses in the nation. His 4-to-1 touchdown-interception ratio is the program’s best since Geno Smith.
Holgorsen points to offensive coordinator Jake Spavital as the primary reason for success.
“[Spavital] does such a great job with the quarterbacks, and has over the years,” Holgorsen said. “Being a former quarterback himself, he just does such a great job with the individual attention aspect of it. He creates a mentality that these guys are the best guys on the field.”
Grier has done a good job spreading around the wealth. Four different receivers have at least 243 receiving yards. Holgorsen emphasized that he cares more about the aggregate stats than which players get targets. That’s held true through five games.
Last season, West Virginia had just one 300-100-100 game. It came against Texas Tech. The Mountaineers play Texas Tech this Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va.
“They’re very good offensively,” Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “They rank at the top of every category that you want to lead … we’ll have our hands full. They do a great job distributing the ball.”
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