MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The muscle of 240-pound CJ Donaldson and quick bursts from freshman Jahiem White proved to be too much for BYU.
White rushed for a season-high 146 yards, Donaldson ran for 102 yards and two short touchdowns, and West Virginia used a dominant ground attack to become bowl eligible with a 37-7 victory over BYU on Saturday night.
Garrett Greene threw two touchdown passes for the Mountaineers (6-3, 4-2 Big 12), who jumped to a 27-0 halftime lead and cruised from there.
“Tonight was our most complete game,” West Virginia coach Neal Brown said. “We’re starting to hit our stride.”
White had five runs of at least 10 yards, including a pair of 32-yarders. It was White’s second 100-yard rushing effort of the season.
“I think this game’s really hard to play as a true freshman,” Brown said. “He’s got a chance to be special. He’s a long way. If he continues to do the things that it takes to be great, then he is going to be a great one. He can break tackles. He’s got good bursts.
“He’s earned his opportunities.”
White’s teammates refer to him as a scatback, a term for a fast, elusive runner who takes advantage of open space. His style is in contrast to Donaldson, who is more of a straight-ahead runner known to carry several defenders on his back for additional yardage.
Together they were a pain for BYU to stop. West Virginia compiled 336 rushing yards — the most under their fifth-year coach Brown — and 567 overall.
White’s 16 carries were his most this season.
“I let my work take over,” White said.
Donaldson limped off the field favoring his left leg in the second quarter. He returned after sitting out one series. West Virginia’s leading rusher had first-quarter TDs of 2 and 1 yards. He’s scored at least once in seven straight games. Both Donaldson and White sat out the fourth quarter.
Junior college transfer Jake Retzlaff made his debut for BYU (5-4, 2-4) in place of the banged up Kedon Slovis and showed off his strong arm. But it made little difference.
The Cougars failed to reach 300 yards of offense for the fifth straight game. They turned the ball over three times on downs and lost a fumble, all in West Virginia territory. BYU also missed a 50-yard field goal and had a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to start the second half negated by a holding penalty.
“We couldn’t create any momentum. We couldn’t get things going,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “We lost the game in all three phases. It’s going to be a tough film to watch.”
Retzlaff completed 24 of 42 passes for 210 yards.
“Jake battled. He played hard,” Sitake said. “He threw the ball with great velocity and accuracy. I thought he made a couple of mistakes, but the effort was there and the energy. He never quit.”
Greene went 12 of 24 for 205 yards passing, including a 12-yard scoring toss to Preston Fox in the second quarter and a 43-yard TD strike to Kole Taylor in the third.
The final margin could have been greater. West Virginia settled for three Michael Hayes field goals after advancing inside the BYU 15.
BYU: The Cougars fell to 0-4 on the road in league play in which they’ve been outscored 154-51. BYU will need a strong finish to avoid its worst record since 2019, when it went 7-6. All of its remaining opponents have winning records.
West Virginia: The 151 points scored in the last four games is West Virginia’s highest total under Brown in Big 12 play. The Mountaineers extended their streak of at least 140 rushing yards to 13 straight games, the most among Power Five schools.
BYU hosts Iowa State next Saturday night.
West Virginia plays at No. 10 Oklahoma next Saturday.
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