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  • 02 Aug
    导出博客文章MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Skyler Howard played through a rib injury and Rushel Shell
    missed most of the second half with leg cramps, yet West Virginia overcame
    setbacks to their top two offensive threats to break a five-game losing streak
    to Southeastern Conference teams.Backup running back Justin Crawford rushed for
    101 yards and a touchdown filling in for Shell, and Howard stayed in the game to
    lead the Mountaineers to a 26-11 win over Missouri on Saturday.Well take it,
    said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. Weve got a lot of work to do.So does
    Missouri, which lost in the debut for coach Barry Odom and fell in an opener for
    the first time since 2001, which was the first season under previous coach Gary
    Pinkel.Howard was hurt when he was tackled by Missouris Donavin Newsom while
    sliding during a run near halftime. Trainers worked on his ribs before the
    second-half kickoff and he returned to the game.Holgorsen said Howard is sore
    but no ribs were broken.He knew we needed him, Holgorsen said. The kid is a
    competitor and is going to do anything ... to help the team win.Howard didnt
    attempt a carry the rest of the game. He finished 23 of 35 for 235 yards with no
    touchdowns and an interception.In the brief time Howard sat out, backup
    quarterback William Crest lost a fumble and Chris Chugunov threw an
    interception.When guys go down, (other) guys need to go in and play at a high
    level, Holgorsen said. Some did. Some didnt.Crawford did. The junior college
    transfer got most of the carries after Shell walked off the field gingerly early
    in the third quarter and didnt return. Holgorsen said Shell had leg cramps and
    hes fine.Crawford had a 1-yard scoring run in the third quarter.From a teammate
    perspective, its good to know when you come off the field theyre putting someone
    in that is just as good as you, Shell said.Shell finished with 90 yards,
    including a 23-yard TD in the first quarter. He said he didnt want to return to
    the game after leaving and mess up the flow and the tempo of the
    offense.Missouri struggled most of the game under sophomore quarterback Drew
    Lock, who threw an 8-yard scoring pass to Chris Black with under two minutes
    left.I dont feel like I did a very good job on this, Odom said. Im obviously
    very thankful and honored to be the head coach. But Ive got a job to do and I
    didnt get it done today.THE TAKEAWAYMISSOURI: New offensive coordinator Josh
    Heupel has two weeks to get the Tigers ready for the grueling Southeastern
    Conference schedule. The Tigers were lethargic against a West Virginia defense
    that had nine new starters. Lock finished 23 of 51 for 280 yards.Odom said there
    was some good and some bad about Locks performance.Hes going to continue to get
    better, Odom said.WEST VIRGINIA: Like many games last season, the Mountaineers
    had trouble reaching the end zone following long drives. Four stalled inside the
    Missouri 10, all leading to short field goals by Mike Molina.Thats not good,
    Holgorsen said. Theres going to be times where those field goals need to be
    touchdowns. We have to do a better job of finishing drives.UP NEXTMISSOURI:
    Tigers fans get to see how Odom does for themselves in the home opener against
    Eastern Michigan -- a 61-14 winner over Mississippi Valley State -- before
    Missouris SEC home opener with Georgia a week later.WEST VIRGINIA: The
    Mountaineers welcome ex-Nebraska coach Bo Pelini in their first-ever meeting
    with Youngstown State, which gave Pittsburgh a scare on the road a year ago.
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    .C. -- When North Carolina freshman Ryan Switzer reported to
    training camp in August he was a little miffed to learn he was third on the
    depth chart at punt returner.
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    . Bryant, who signed a five-year, $34 million contract as a free
    agent with Cleveland in March, reported symptoms on Monday morning, a team
    spokesman said. TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Jim McElwain never had a quarterback at
    Alabama quite like Jalen Hurts.The freshman has emerged as the top-ranked
    Crimson Tides most prolific rushing quarterback, a departure in style from the
    drop-back passers running the show during McElwains days as offensive
    coordinator in Tuscaloosa.Now, his 15th-ranked Florida Gators have to figure out
    a way to contain Hurts and the Tide in Saturdays Southeastern Conference
    championship game in Atlanta.Theyve added a new dimension, obviously, the Gators
    coach said. This quarterback is something thats real special, has created a lot
    of explosive plays not only for himself but obviously because you have to play
    that component, it loosens it up for some other guys. There isnt really a
    weakness on that team.Now, though, the 6-foot-2, 209-pound Hurts will be facing
    the best pass defense of his young career. The Gators rank third nationally in
    pass defense efficiency, behind only playoff contenders Ohio State and Michigan
    -- among the potential Tide opponents down the road.Its a challenge for a
    youngster who has been a dynamic playmaker but hardly immune to mistakes -- no
    surprise for a freshman, even one leading the defending national champions.
    (Coach Nick Saban doesnt allow freshmen to speak to the media during the regular
    season, so Hurts own take on his play will have to wait until at least after the
    game.)Hurts has passed for 2,454 yards and 21 touchdowns. He has also already
    set the single-season rushing record for an Alabama quarterback with 840 yards
    while accounting for half of the teams 24 touchdowns on the ground and 30
    percent of the Tides runs.Thats been good enough to lead the Tide to a perfect
    regular season and secure Hurts a spot among the 10 finalists for the Manning
    Award as the nations top quarterback.Theres plenty for him to fix as a passer
    before a likely playoff game, and certainly in the next couple of years.Hurts
    threw his eighth and ninth interceptions of the season in the first half against
    Auburn .dddddddddddd Thats more than any Alabama quarterback since coach Sabans
    first year, in 2007, when John Parker Wilson was picked off 12 times.Hurts has
    also fumbled nine times, losing five.Hes made more than enough plays to
    compensate for those mistakes, proving his resiliency along with his talent.
    Hurts is still learning on the job, after all, and Saban said hes very dedicated
    to improving.I dont think anybody on the team wants to play better at his
    position than Jalen Hurts, Saban said. He wants to do well. Youre still talking
    about a guy thats a freshman. You cant really coach experience. There are some
    things that guys just have to learn by doing and sometimes the best way to learn
    it is when you make mistakes.Hurts took over the starting job after the opener
    against USC, when he fumbled on his first snap. Former five-star signee Blake
    Barnett started that game but soon left the program when it was clear Hurts was
    going to be the guy.Hes operating an offense with talented runners like Damien
    Harris and Bo Scarbrough and receiving threats like ArDarius Stewart and Calvin
    Ridley.But nobody has delivered more timely plays than Hurts. He has produced
    eight runs of 20-plus yards and some big passing plays, though he hasnt been
    particularly consistent with the deep ball.McElwain praises not only Hurts
    talent but his mental fortitude.I do know theyve done a heck of a job playing to
    his strengths, he said. Hes fun to watch, Im telling you. Hes got a great
    command. Hes calm. He doesnt get flustered. He takes what they give him. Yet
    they give him a crack, he can beat you with his feet.As coach (Saban) used to
    say about the running quarterbacks, its like playing 12 guys on the field. It
    looks that way sometimes.---More AP college football:
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