Grier Credits Offensive Line, Defense As Keys To WVU Win
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With a plethora of attention-grabbing skill position players around WVU quarterback Will Grier, it’s easy to focus on the production of wide receivers, the continuing development of the tight ends, and the yardage gained by running backs. Grier knows where it all starts, however, and was quick to credit the players up front for their performance in the Mountaineers’ 35-6 win over Kansas State.
“I really like where the O-line group is at. They continue to work and give great effort on every snap,” he said. “You can’t say how much that means to an offense. They did a great job today.”
The line has had a couple of different looks so far, but seems to have settled into a rotation that includes the starting five of Yodny Cajuste, Josh Sills, Matt Jones, Chase Behrndt and Colton McKivitz. Jacob Buccigrossi gets reps in place of Jones at center, and Joe Brown for Behrndt at guard. (Brown came out late in the game and had an ice pack on his neck in the late stages of the contest.)
Grier was kept clean save one sack, but a snap over his head, a couple of misfires on passes, and drops from the receiving corps kept the Mountaineers from putting up more points.
“We did some good things today, but it wasn’t the cleanest game,” Grier admitted. “We left a lot of things out there. There was a lot of sloppy stuff, hurting ourselves. It’s a point of emphasis. Don’t hurt yourself. We’re going to have to play better.”
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West Virginia’s fourth down stop of Kansas State rightly got a good bit of notice as an important juncture in the game. To that point, WVU, had scored just seven points, but after Dylan Tonkery and JoVanni Stewart teamed up to spill an ill-advised Wildcat option, things seemed to click. For Grier, it was simply a matter of the offense feeding off the defense.
“The defense played outstanding today. They made a couple of huge plays, and when they swing the momentum like that it picks us up as an offense,” he observed. “They played lights out today. It’s fun watching those guys play, they get after it. It’s the momentum, playing off each other.”
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Grier cast an interesting metaphor to describe the back corner throw to wide receiver David Sills at the end of the first half. With six seconds remaining at the snap, getting the ball on its way as quickly as possible was of paramount importance, so that enough time would be left for a field goal in case of an incompletion.
“That was catch and release. We were fly-fishing on that one,” Grier said with a smile. “We knew we had enough time to hit it or kick a field goal. We’ve talked about that a couple of times.”
The fly on the hook that Grier and Sills selected was perfect for the waters, resulting in a touchdown and a 21-0 halftime lead.