MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia football dominated for its most complete win of the season Saturday night.
WVU (6-3, 4-2 Big 12) scored on its first two drives and recorded 27 unanswered points in the first half on the way to a 37-7 win over BYU (5-4, 2-4 Big 12) at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown.
With the win, the Mountaineers are now bowl-eligible.
After not scoring on an opening drive for almost a full year, WVU has now scored touchdowns on its first drive of the game in back-to-back Big 12 matches. WVU head coach Neal Brown opted to receive the opening kickoff after winning the coin toss, and the Mountaineers marched down the field on 11 plays for 75 yards and a touchdown for the early 7-0 lead on a two-yard run by CJ Donaldson.
Donaldson (14 carries, 102 yards, two scores) has now scored a touchdown in seven straight games, and he added his second of the night minutes later for a 14-0 lead after BYU turned the ball over on downs.
Early in the second quarter, the Mountaineers looked to be on their way to an easy 21-0 lead. Freshman running back Jahiem White (16 carries, 146 yards) tallied over 50 rushing yards on the team’s third drive of the game, but a pair of false starts and a holding penalty stalled the Mountaineers’ drive. Michael Hayes drilled his first field goal of the night – a 48-yarder – for the 17-0 lead.
At this point, the WVU team from the first half of the season would have hit a wall.
Instead, defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley’s crew forced its second punt of the night, and junior quarterback Garrett Greene (12-for-24, 205 yards, two touchdowns) led a 10-play, 93-yard scoring drive to extend the WVU lead to 24-0. He found redshirt sophomore receiver Preston Fox (three catches, 33 yards, one touchdown) in the back of the end zone on a dicey throw that was aggressively hauled in by Fox.
With under two minutes to play in the half, BYU first-time starting quarterback Jake Retzlaff led a decisive and urgent drive for the first time all night. Retzlaff connected on a 23-yard completion into the WVU red zone with a minute remaining, but WVU safety Aubrey Burks stripped BYU receiver Parker Kingston of the ball and recovered it for the team’s first takeaway of the night.
One minute and five seconds was more than enough time for Greene to lead WVU down the field for a scoring drive on a chip-shot 22-yard field goal for a 27-0 lead at halftime. Greene found senior receiver Devin Carter on a 38-yard pass down the right sideline to salvage the WVU drive.
By the halfway point, White led WVU with 110 rushing yards. It was the first time two WVU running backs rushed for over 100 yards against a Big 12 team since Justin Crawford (125) and Kennedy McKoy (105) did the same against Kansas in September of 2017.
As a team, WVU ran for 336 yards.
For the first 10 seconds of the second half, BYU was back.
The Cougars took back the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown before fans could get back in their seats from their bathroom breaks, but as the Cougars lined up for the point-after-attempt, the officiating crew signaled a BYU holding at the other end of the field.
BYU started the drive on its own 10-yard line and lost two yards before punting after a three-and-out.
Eight plays later, the Mountaineers extended their lead to 30-0 on a 23-yard field goal from Hayes. A 32-yard run by White set WVU up in scoring position.
If the 30-point lead wasn’t the dagger, the 43-yard scoring connection between Greene and tight end Kole Taylor to take a 37-0 lead surely was.
The Mountaineers could not complete its first shutout of the year after BYU scored a garbage-time touchdown on a three-yard run by Aidan Robbins to cut the deficit to 30 points.
Linebacker Lee Kpogba led WVU with eight tackles, including 1.5 for losses. Ben Cutter recorded his first collegiate sack, while Hammond Russell IV and Asani Redwood shared another. Cornerback Beanie Bishop logged five pass breakups after entering the game with a nation-leading 12 deflections.
The Mountaineers continue Big 12 play next week against Oklahoma (7-2, 4-2 Big 12) in Norman.