AMES, IA - NOVEMBER 26: Running back Martell Pettaway #32 of the West Virginia Mountaineers breaks away from defensive back Evrett Edwards #4 of the Iowa State Cyclones to score a touchdown in the second half of play at Jack Trice Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Ames, Iowa. The West Virginia Mountaineers won 49-19 over the Iowa State Cyclones. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)

BEVO BEAT Football

Top opponents for Texas in 2017, No. 84: West Virginia RB Martell Pettaway

Posted June 10th, 2017

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The countdown to kickoff is on. Over the 100 days before Texas takes on Maryland, we’re counting down the 100 best players the Longhorns will face in 2017. This series is all about impressing your friends at pregame tailgates and watch parties, so grab a notepad and buckle up.

Who is he?

This is probably what Iowa State players were asking themselves as Martell Pettaway ran over, around and through them last November. In a rare situation, injuries to West Virginia’s top three running backs forced coach Dana Holgorsen to burn Pettaway’s redshirt in the 11th game of the season. The true freshman from Detroit responded with 30 carries for 181 yards and a touchdown in his college debut. “He’s probably the reason we won,” Holgorsen said afterward.

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What should the Longhorns watch for?

Where Pettaway fits into the Mountaineers’ rotation remains to be seen. He’s still stuck behind Justin Crawford (1,184 yards) and Kennedy McKoy (472 yards), who both established places in the Big 12 hierarchy in their first season. In theory, Pettaway’s presence gives West Virginia a three-headed monster.

As you can see in the video above, Pettaway is a sturdy runner who is hard to bring down. Assuming he is the third wheel behind Crawford and McKoy, his role will be to spell those two and keep the entire backfield fresh. If he’s successful, his presence should have the opposite effect on defenses.

On a more personal note

Check out this profile of Pettaway done by the Detroit Free Press when he was in high school. His brother, Devinne, died from cardiomyopathy in 2008 when he was a senior in high school.

Catch up on the series

No. 100: Joel Lanning

No. 99: Tony Nicholson

No. 98: Da’Leon Ward

No. 97: Taylor Martin

No. 96: Kyler Murray

No. 95: Davion Hall

No. 94: Mike Warren

No. 93: Al-Rasheed Benton

No. 92: Carter Stanley

No. 91: Chris Bradley

No. 90: Justin Holmes

No. 89: Alex Barnes

No. 88: Daniel Wise

No. 87: Jesse Aniebonam

No. 86: Cole Walterscheid

No. 85: Shane Cockerille

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