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03 September 2016: West Virginia Mountaineers QB Skyler Howard (3) warms up prior to the game between the Missouri Tigers and the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, WV. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

West Virginia QB Skyler Howard exits with apparent injury

Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire

West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard exited Saturday’s game versus Missouri. The senior gunslinger took a knee to the ribs and was subsequently replaced by Willie Crest:

In order to thrive in head coach Dana Holgorsen’s high-paced offense, you need a quarterback that can chuck it around the field and Howard can do just that.

He is coming off a 552-yard performance in last season’s Cactus Bowl and was primed to show the nation just how good he was in 2016. A Big 12 Conference that features Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, Baylor’s Seth Russell and Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes, Howard believes he deserves to be in that tier.

“As a kid, you want to be one of the elite quarterbacks,” he told Columbia Tribune. “But if I’m not, that’s OK, too. Because I’ve never been that guy, actually. I’ve always came from the bottom. It doesn’t surprise me that I’ve got to work my way up. I’m excited to do it. I like being the underdog, because it’s what I’m used to.”

Howard helped lead the Mountaineers to an 8-5 record which was topped off by a bowl win over the Arizona State Sun Devils. He was lightly recruited out of high school, but his potential replacement, Willie Crest, was not.

The 6-3 pro-style quarterback was tagged as a four-star recruit out of the 2014 class. 247Sports ranked Crest as the No. 7 player in the state of Maryland, and Crest, who committed to West Virginia nearly a year early will have to replace some big shoes with Howard out.

West Virginia QB Skyler Howard exits with apparent injury

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