The West Virginia offense began the day a little rusty with two turnovers following a week off after a cancelled game. Safe to say that slow start was but a minor speed bump on their way to a win Saturday afternoon in Morgantown.
The No. 12 Mountaineers did just about whatever they wanted offensively to throttle Kansas State 35-6 in both teams’ Big 12 opener, showcasing the arm of Heisman candidate Will Grier and proving that Dana Holgorsen’s squad remains a dangerous threat for Oklahoma and others in the league in the process.
Grier shook off an interception just six plays into the game to throw for 356 yards and five touchdowns before the final whistle (he tossed two late picks as well when the score was well in hand). Wideout Marcus Simms had the most impressive of those five scores off an 82-yard catch-and-run in the first quarter but it was the signal-caller’s favorite target in David Sills V who was the most productive with 73 yards and three touchdowns.
If there was one area that wasn’t rolling on offense for the Mountaineers, it might have been the rushing attack. Kennedy McKoy needed only eight carries to record 57 yards but the team took until late in the fourth quarter to crack the century mark against KSU. It didn’t matter at all in the end but if there’s one area where Holgorsen and his staff will nitpick watching film on Sunday it might be the over-reliance on big passing plays and not getting consistent yardage on the ground.
Even so, that kind of productivity made the Wildcats jealous. Quarterback Skylar Thompson was a solid 11-of-17 passing for 145 yards but the offense never could find any sort of consistency despite a few short fields. Backup Alex Delton was inserted in the second half to provide a bit of a spark but failed to (59 total yards) and the team mustered only two field goal drives all game. Alex Barnes was also held in check with just 49 yards rushing.
The end result drops K-State to a disappointing 2-2 to open the season and gets Big 12 play off in a suboptimal way for Bill Snyder after an offseason spent lurking as a dark horse. The team everybody thought the Wildcats will be does not appear to be showing up between the lines so far in 2018 and a tough test awaits next Saturday against Texas to make matters worse.
As for the Mountaineers, they may find themselves in the top 10 by next week after moving to 3-0 and remain a quality team that will be in the thick of the Big 12 race this fall. They’ll hit the road to face Texas Tech next week but a 7-0 start to this year’s campaign seems increasingly likely if they keep playing like they did against Kansas State.