Notes, Quotes

The Sports Xchange

September 04, 2018 at 9:23 pm.


–QB Will Grier got his season off to a great start in the Mountaineers’ 40-17 win against Tennessee. 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. He’s on the short list of legitimate Heisman Trophy candidates for a reason.

–RB Kennedy McKoy has had his share of carries over his first two years, but he only got four totes, for 18 yards, and caught a pass for 14 more and a TD in the opener against Tennessee. He’s recorded double-digit carries in eight of his 24 career games, so he’s no stranger to being a workhorse but it remains to be seen if West Virginia decides to use him as its featured back. McKoy has enough speed to break off long runs, and his physicality on contact is unmatched. He’s not afraid to pass protect either, an absolute necessity for a running back who plays for coach Dana Holgorsen.

–WR Marcus Simms flashed his brilliance last season despite being the Mountaineers’ third receiving option and with an improved role should really flourish in 2018. He caught two passes for 40 yards in the season opener as Grier focused on David Sills V and Jennings, Jr., hitting them for a combined 13 hookups. With a greater volume this year, expect Simms’ numbers to spike. He is an excellent special teams player for the Mountaineers as well, returning both punts and kickoffs and ripped off a 32-yard return as part of his 51 total return yards against Tennessee.

–DE Ezekiel Rose played two seasons at the junior college level before transferring to West Virginia in January 2017, but the wait was worth it. After competing for playing time and earning some snaps last year, Rose will be a key fixture in the Mountaineers’ front seven this fall. He led the squad in sacks last season with five, but the senior will need to improve on those numbers to be a real force. He had two tackles, including one for a loss, against Tennessee.

–S Kenny Robinson, who played in 11 games for West Virginia as a true freshman and was sixth on the team in tackles, picked right up where he left off in the season opener, tying for the team-high with nine stops. Stats aren’t the best measure for a college defensive back, but Robinson shows up when you watch the tape, too, routinely making decisive tackles with textbook technique. Robinson sets himself apart with his ability to make plays and isn’t afraid to mix it up in the run game as well.

SERIES HISTORY: West Virginia lead Youngstown State, 2-0.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “First home games are always great. I wouldn’t have scripted it any better, honestly. You guys know my feelings on neutral-site games, and to be able to win that game is going to give us a whole lot of momentum. I thought the previous two that we lost gave us momentum, so being able to win one of those is going to give us a lot of momentum moving forward.” — West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen on the start to the season.