CJ Donaldson left his mark on his first-ever college football game Thursday night in Pittsburgh.
The true freshman, who entered West Virginia’s season-opener as the No. 3 running back on the depth chart, led the way for the Mountaineers’ rushing attack.
Donaldson, a converted tight end, rushed 125 yards on just seven carries, and scored the first rushing touchdown of his collegiate career. WVU lost by a final score of 38-31 in the first playing of the Backyard Brawl in more than a decade.
After averaging 17.9 rushing yards per carry in his first taste of college football, the Big 12 Conference took notice.
Donaldson was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on Monday.
Donaldson is the first Mountaineer to rush for 100 yards in his collegiate debut since Martell Pettaway on November 26, 2016, at Iowa State. The freshman also made an impact play on special teams, blocking a punt in the second quarter.
That blocked punt set up a five-yard touchdown run for the Miami, Florida native.
Donaldson and West Virginia host Big 12 foe Kansas (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) at Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday, September 10. Kansas’ Lonnie Phelps Jr. was named the Big 12’s Defensive Player of the Week after coming up with three sacks in his Jayhawks debut.
Saturday’s contest doubles as WVU’s home-opener and the start of its conference slate.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be televised on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.