Morgantown, W.Va. Noel Devine’s best performance helped West Virginia overcome a second straight game of turnover troubles.
Devine ran for a career-high 220 yards and a touchdown, leading the Mountaineers to a 35-24 victory over Colorado on Thursday night.
Jarrett Brown threw two touchdown passes and redshirt freshman fullback Ryan Clarke ran for two fourth-quarter scores for West Virginia (3-1).
Devine had a season-high 22 carries, and coach Bill Stewart decided to use the 5-foot-8 junior more often when West Virginia had difficulty handling Colorado’s blitzing defense in the second half.
“I got a little frustrated with the pass protection and Jarrett running around in the third quarter and I said, that’s it — it’s all on me,” Stewart said. “I’ve been trying to wheel and deal it and throw it deep and spread the field. I said let’s put the ball in No. 7’s hands and win the football game and that’s what we did.”
Both teams played sloppily despite having an extra week to prepare and have plenty of problems to sort out heading into their conference openers.
West Virginia’s defense allowed another quarterback to pile up the passing yards. The Mountaineers, who play at Syracuse on Oct. 10, lost four first-half fumbles to Colorado and have 10 turnovers in the past two games.
“Offensively, we just couldn’t get in sync,” Stewart said. “If we don’t take care of turnovers, we will not have a banner season like I’d hoped we would.”
Colorado’s Cody Hawkins threw two touchdown passes but was intercepted three times and Colorado (1-3) managed three total points on four other drives that went inside the 30.
“When you play a good football team, you have to maximize your opportunities,” Colorado coach Dan Hawkins said. “Bottom line, could we have won the football game? Sure. And I think you’ve got to leave it at that.”
Colorado now faces the impossible task of meeting their head coach’s directive of “10 wins, no excuses.” The Buffaloes would have to win the remainder of their games, including a bowl, starting next week at No. 2 Texas.