Why Martell Pettaway didn’t play vs. ISU, plus other WVU football notes

WVU Football

After Saturday’s loss to Iowa State, WVU coach Neal Brown revealed why senior running back Martell Pettaway didn’t appear in the game. 

Brown noted that the plan right now is for Pettaway to redshirt this season, taking advantage of a new NCAA rule which will allow Pettaway to appear in a maximum of four games and still maintain his final year of eligibility. 

This will only happen, though, if West Virginia’s other three running backs can stay healthy for the remainder of the season, according to Brown. 

If things go as to planned, West Virginia would be set with depth at running back again next season: Pettaway would return for a fifth season with WVU, alongside talented youngsters Leddie Brown and Alec Sinkfield.

“That’s one position where we do have some depth,” Brown said. 

Pettaway has appeared in four of West Virginia’s six games this season. He logged two touchdowns in the win over Kansas, but he has only carried the ball 27 times this season for 72 yards, ranking him third in both categories among WVU’s backs. 

“He hasn’t had the type of year that he wants to have or that we want him to have,” Brown said. 

Pettaway’s situation is quite unique. He now has an opportunity to gain the extra year he thought he lost in 2016.

That season, Pettaway was supposed to redshirt as a true freshman, but injuries to other players forced him to appear in West Virginia’s final three games.

Brown noted that he’ll continue an ongoing dialogue with Pettaway and running backs coach Chad Scott about the Detroit native’s future. This plan could also hinge upon the health of Sinkfield, who was injured late in the game against the Cyclones. 

More notes from West Virginia’s loss to Iowa State:

  • As previously reported, quarterback Austin Kendall sustained a chest injury during the first position of Saturday’s contest. He was knocked out of the game and did not return. It’s plausible Brown could provide an update on Kendall’s status during his weekly conference call Monday morning. 
  • Junior receiver Tevin Bush did not play against Iowa State due to an injury. He also missed the game against NC State, and hasn’t recorded a touch for WVU since the loss to Missouri. 
  • On defense, cornerback Keith Washington dressed but did not play vs. the Cyclones. Brown noted that Washington picked up an injury late in the matchup with Texas, and it was serious enough that he couldn’t feature vs. the Cyclones. 
  • Fellow cornerback Hakeem Bailey’s targeting ejection in the second half means he’ll also be unavailable for the first half of the upcoming clash with Oklahoma. 
  • The abrupt changes in West Virginia’s secondary opened the door to plenty of playing time for true freshmen. Nicktroy Fortune started at cornerback in place of Washington, while Tae Mayo made his first appearance after Bailey’s ejection. Tykee Smith started at spear, a role formerly held by JoVanni Stewart, while West Virginia native Kerry Martin Jr. also saw time at safety. 

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