MORGANTOWN – They have started calling West Virginia wide receiver George Campbell “The Touchdown Machine” around the Milan Puskar Center.
On a team that has scored 20 total offensive touchdowns he owns 20% of them – four – even though he’s seen limited offensive action.
It looks almost strange, the Florida State University transfers statistics.
Six receptions ... four of them for scores.
We’re not talking goal line stuff here. He’s averaging 31.7 yards catch, including an 83-yard score against Baylor when he had to win a 50-50 ball from the Baylor corner who had covered him perfectly.
But once he caught it, he was gone.
Put another six points up for “The Touchdown Machine.”
Look at it this way, Campbell’s six receptions rank 9th among WVU players, but he’s tied for the lead in touchdowns with T.J. Simmons. His 190 receiving yards rank third on the team, more than anyone but Sam James and Simmons.
And that 31.7 yard average makes absolutely dwarfs the 9.8 team average in receiving yards.
It gives him every right to complain about playing time and do some bragging, but that just isn’t his nature.
“I treat it all the same,” he said. “I try to stay humble. A lot of people talk about being a touchdown machine. I just stay humble, keep my head forward and keep working.”
And rest assured he works. He’s been a key player on special teams and special teams have been not only stressed this year as never before but they have produced some of the biggest moments of the season.
One of them came in that spine tingling Baylor game, a 3-point WVU defeat to the nation’s No 12 team.
“I thought our special teams played really well,” Brown said. “Overall it was our best game.”
And Campbell played a big part in that as in his role as a “gunner,” one of the outside coverage men who run down under punts, he was right there when Baylor muffed a punt and Campbell was able to recover it, totally changing field position.
“My first thought was to pick it up and run but I didn’t want to miss the ball,” Campbell said.
So he fell on it.
“Special teams is an important part of the game. You saw what happened. The punt returner muffed a punt and we recovered. It’s not just field position but it gives a lot of confidence to the offense,” Campbell said.
“To be able to make big plays on special plays correlates with the offense and with the defense.”
But this is a one-time 5-star recruit who came from what was a one-time national power at FSU. His career didn’t take the route he had hoped but he transferred to the Mountaineers with a big time reputation and looked for playing time as a redshirt senior.
It didn’t happen, but he accepted it, and happily took a spot playing special teams assignments.
“ I always played special teams, even before I got here. I played D-end in high school so I like the chance to get to hit people,” he said.
And he feels he’s contributing.
“No, there’s been no frustration,” he said. “It’s all part of football, but you have to know how to bounce back.”
Scoring touchdowns like a machine is one and Brown promises he’ll be seeing more offensive action as the season plays out.
Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel