Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

October 23, 2018 at 9:25 pm.

West Virginia looks to return to winning ways

No. 13 West Virginia has had an open week to lick its proverbial wounds as it looks to return to its winning ways when it hosts improving Baylor on Thursday night at Milan Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, West Virginia.

The Mountaineers (5-1, 3-1 in Big 12 play) will have to improve across the board to wipe away the bad taste that came with a definitive 30-14 loss on Oct. 13 at Iowa State that dropped them from the ranks of the unbeaten and likely doomed the already-fleeting Heisman Trophy chances for quarterback Will Grier.

Everything that could go wrong did for West Virginia in that defeat, which is even more difficult to fathom because Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said his team was ready to play and play well.

“You know what’s weird is I felt like we were ready to play,” Holgorsen said.

“You look at the way we played, we didn’t have loafs, we didn’t have lack of effort, which is weird because we got whooped. But you’re not going to see panic out of our players, or, in particular, our senior leaders. This is going to motivate us more than it’s going to discourage us, I can guarantee you that.”

West Virginia’s vaunted offense was limited to just 152 total yards on 42 snaps, an average of 3.6 yards per play. The Mountaineers’ longest play was a 26-yard run by Kennedy McKoy. Grier completed 11-of-15 passes for a only 100 yards with one touchdown and an interception. It was his worst passing performance in 17 career games at West Virginia.

“There were a lot of times there wasn’t anything Will could do,” Holgorsen said. “He got frustrated because there wasn’t anybody to throw to, and he missed a couple of reads.

“When you’re one of the top quarterbacks in the country, there are throws that I think you could make even when guys are covered, so he has to trust his ability and continue to trigger those throws and not worry about some bad things that could potentially happen.”