WVU Looks to Continue Winning Ways vs. YSU
MORGANTOWN — No. 14 West Virginia will look to start the season 2-0 when the Mountaineers entertain FCS member Youngstown State University at 6 p.m. at Milan Puskar Stadium.
“First home games are always great,î” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said during Tuesday’s press conference. “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 moving forward, so being able to win one of those is going to give us a lot of momentum moving forward, and then, to be able to come back and open up at home here at Mountaineer Field.
“It’s a 6 p.m. game, I’m looking forward to that. That should be great for our fans; I would assume there’s going to be a lot of people there. I think there’s 12,000 student tickets that are already accounted for, so 6 p.m. game, night game, the weather should be great, Man Trip should be great, good crowd, good opponent, all the rest of it.”
The Penguins of coach Bo Pelini make their third trek to Mountaineer Field with an 0-1 mark following a last second loss to Butler, 23-21.
Tevin McCaster rushed for 166 yards on 29 carries while first-year starting quarterback Montgomery VanGorder completed 18 for 27 passes for 234 yards and three scores.
WVU will counter with a quartet of running backs.
Martell Pettaway led the way against Tennessee with 56 yards on nine carries while freshman Leddie Brown made his debut a solid one with 33 yards on eight attempts. Rounding out the group was Kennedy McKoy, who had 18 yards on four carries but also had a fumble, while Alec Sinkfield made the most of his first game experience with one carry for four yards.
Pacing the offensive attack for the Mountaineers will be redshirt senior quarterback Will Grier. The Preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year selection and Heisman Trophy candidate opened his final season with a solid showing in WVU’s 40-14 win over the Volunteers, completing 25 of 34 passes for a career-high 429 yards and five touchdowns.
Even more impressive was the fact that WVU’s signal-caller used 11 different receivers as seniors David Sills V and Gary Jennings Jr. finished with seven and six catches respectively for 140 yards and 113 yards while Marcus Simms, Trevon Wesco, and Sinkfield hauled in two passes each.
Alabama transfer T.J. Simmons, McKoy, Jovani Haskins, Dominique Maiden, Tevin Bush and Pettaway all caught one pass. Sills found the end zone twice while Jennings, Simmons and McKoy were on the end of Grierís other touchdown throws.
“Obviously, I have a lot of respect for Bo Pelini,” Holgorsen said. “He’s as good of a defensive coordinator that exists out there. We go way back; I faced him when I was at Oklahoma State and then a couple years ago as well. He said it best — they didn’t deserve to win last week. Anybody can beat anybody if you don’t respect the game, and if you don’t prepare to play. That’s what he said in his press conference, and as coaches, we all understand that. We can use that as motivation for us. It happens every week; we don’t even really have to talk about it anymore.
“FCS teams best FBS teams every single week, it happens. It’s going to happen this week. Our goal and our job is to make sure it doesn’t happen to us, so we’re going to take this very, very, very seriously and prepare just like we did last week. I think we have a veteran group of guys that like football that are looking forward just to the overall aspect of being able to prepare the right way and go out and be able to try to meet our goal, which is to win every and every week.”
WVU will honor the 1988 undefeated team which lost to Notre Dame for the national championship before the game.