Understandably, we skipped last week’s edition of “What We Learned” due to hurricane Florence and the cancellation of the Mountaineers’ contest against North Carolina State.
Despite an impromptu bye week and a sluggish start on Saturday, West Virginia cruised to a convincing 35-6 win over Big XII foe Kansas State.
Here’s what we learned after the Mountaineers captured their first win in conference play.
Bad Will Grier is Still Really Good
It’s a bit unfair to label Grier’s performance on Saturday “bad” after throwing for five touchdowns and 356 yards but he did throw two interceptions and looked noticeably rusty after two weeks off. He bounced back rather quickly, however, and engineered three scoring drives at the end of the first half to put the Mountaineers up 21-0. Grier looked surprisingly human at times and that’s not something we’re really accustomed to. But at the end of the day, he did very little to hurt his Heisman chances.
Defense Wins Championships
It’s still way, way too early to crown Tony Gibson’s defense as the best in the Big XII but it’s difficult to ignore their potential to be just that. After the Mountaineers turned the ball over on its first two drives of the game, Gibson’s unit forced the Wildcats into two-straight three-and-outs before Grier hooked up with Marcus Simms on a 82-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter. Overall, West Virginia’s defense limited Kansas State’s offense to only 91 yards rushing and 227 yards through the air and registered 10 tackles for loss. The first real test of the season, however, comes next week against Texas Tech and the nation’s best pass offense.
It’s Fun to Win
There is a genuine sense of brotherhood amongst this year’s West Virginia team. One look at Tevin Bush crowd-surfing atop his teammates after his 62-yard touchdown reception during Saturday’s contest tells you all you need to know. Who knows if that will make a difference when West Virginia take on the likes of Oklahoma and TCU but it certainly isn’t hurting its chances. Winning makes everyone happy and luckily for the Mountaineers, they don’t yet know what it feels like to lose in 2018.
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