West Virginia entered Saturday undefeated against FCS programs and after the matchup with Delaware State that mark will stay unblemished as the Mountaineers dispatched the Hornets 59-16.
The Mountaineers are now 7-0 against opponents from that level as things started quickly but then bogged down some for the home team before pulling away.
Redshirt junior quarterback Will Grier completed 19-27 passes for 304 yards and a three touchdowns, although he did toss an interception in just over two quarters of work.
Grier tossed a pair of scores to sophomore Marcus Simms (4 catches for 91 yards) and one to redshirt senior Ka’Raun White (6 catches for 50 yards). The Mountaineers were led in receiving by junior Gary Jennings, who finished with 128 yards, making it the second time in three games he has eclipsed the 100-yard mark.
Senior Justin Crawford went over the 100-yard mark for the third time this season finishing with 102 yards and a trio of touchdowns, while sophomore Martell Pettaway also got into the end zone.
West Virginia returned the opening kick 80-yards after receiving the football and three plays later the Mountaineers would cap off a 53-second scoring drive to take a 7-0 lead.
But the Hornets would score a quick touchdown of their own on an 81-yard touchdown pass on a coverage bust that would give Delaware State its second offensive score of the year and knot the game at 7-7 at the 12:20 mark of the first quarter.
After tacking on a field goal on the ensuing offensive drive to recapture a 10-7 lead, the Hornets would fumble the kickoff setting the Mountaineers up again for an easy touchdown to take a 10-point lead.
West Virginia’s sloppy play would continue though with dropped passes, fumbled snaps by Grier and even a turnover setting up the Hornets inside the ten-yard line. That would result in a field goal cutting the deficit to 17-10 in favor of the Mountaineers at the 4:35 mark of the first quarter.
It wouldn’t take long for Grier amend for his mistake hitting Marcus Simms for a 62-yard touchdown in one play to put the advantage back out to 24-10. In all, the play took nine seconds.
West Virginia would hold after a 46-yard run but the ball in their territory to force a punt, but on the first play would give the football right back after Gary Jennings would fumble following a catch.
Turnovers would continue to plague both teams in the second quarter, as each would exchange interceptions on balls forced into coverage.
West Virginia would stretch the lead out further after another stop by the defense on a 28-yard strike to Ka’Raun White to put the score at 31-10 with 10:45 left in the second quarter. The Mountaineers would tack on another first half passing connection with the second to Simms traveling 16-yards to put the game seemingly out of reach at 38-10 at the 6:23 mark of the first half.
West Virginia’s defense would settle in and get the ball back to the Mountaineers offense who would go to Crawford on the ground for the third time in the first half into the end zone to put the advantage at 45-10 with under a minute left to go. The Mountaineers drive was propelled by an impressive 48-yard grab by Jennings down the right sideline.
The West Virginia defense allowed 156 yards in the first half, but 81 of that came on the bust that resulted in the first touchdown for the Hornets.
West Virginia would stop the Hornets to open the second half and the first team offense would turn around and tack on its seventh touchdown of the game with a Pettaway run to cap a 13-play 80-yard scoring drive resulting in a much more successful go for the first team than a week ago.
That would close the day for the first team as the backups would take over and finish the remainder of the contest in the second half.
West Virginia will travel to Kansas next week to open the Big 12 Conference schedule. The game is set to kickoff at noon and will be televised by ESPNU.