Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

September 04, 2018 at 9:23 pm.

Holgorsen pleased with Week 1 performance

If West Virginia could have scripted a scenario for its season-opener against Tennessee, it would have been written a lot like the way things went down in its 40-17 win at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

It’s easy to tick off the great things that happened against the Volunteers, beginning with:

* A record-setting performance from Heisman Trophy-candidate quarterback Will Grier;

* A stout defensive performance that showed that the Mountaineers are more than just an offensive juggernaut;

* And, a neutral-site victory against a Power-5 opponent to start the year and provide momentum for the rest of the schedule.

“I’m excited about this week, really,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said on Tuesday as the team prepares for FCS powerhouse Youngstown State. “It should be a fun week for us to get back to work. I’m looking forward to getting out there and practicing. We have a whole bunch of things that we can work on from the game last weekend.

“You just have to keep improving; getting out there and practicing and improving is obviously going to be important each and every week — this week is no different.”

Grier got his season off to a great start in week one. He completed 25-of-34 (73.5 percent) passes for a career-high 429 yards versus the Volunteers and had a career-high-tying five touchdowns. He connected on passes to 11 different receivers.

The Walter Camp Football Foundation National Offensive Player of the Week has thrown for 300 or more yards in nine of his 12 games he has played at WVU and has thrown five touchdown passes a school-record four times.

The West Virginia defense gets good marks for the way it played against a Volunteers offense that, admittedly, wasn’t very good last year but is filled with four- and five-star players. The bulk of Tennessee’s 301 total yards came on three offensive possessions when West Virginia was protecting leads.

“When they had success, it was when they had success on first down,” Mountaineer defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said. “When they didn’t then they were three-and-out or we got big stops. We want to keep working with that, and as the weeks go on we need to keep building our packages.”