Stillwater sucks. Halloween colors suck. Blowing a 17-point lead on the road sucks most of all. The sting remains, and it’ll take a win over Oklahoma on Friday to rid us of the specter of a game that should have never been a loss. Bright spots exist, however. Several of West Virginia’s tried & true stars did everything they could to get a W for the Mountaineer faithful. Here are your three offensive MVP’s:
Kennedy McKoy, RB: There’s no blame to be laid the junior’s feet as he blasted off for a career day, posting 148 yards and two scores on 21 carries. McKoy also picked up 54 yards on three receptions, elevating his yardage total for the day over the two century mark. In a season where West Virginia’s runningbacks have all chipped in via true committee style, McKoy looked like a future pro on Saturday, flashing breakaway speed and excellent vision. You can debate the play-calling, especially in the second half, when the Mountaineers seemed to be playing it safe and relying too much on delayed runs and draws, but you certainly can’t throw shade at the Lexington, NC native and his performance in front of a hostile OSU crowd. West Virginia will need McKoy to produce an equal or better performance Friday night, given that a shootout is all but guaranteed with Kyler Murray coming into Morgantown.
Will Grier, QB: The numbers, once again, paint Grier in an incredibly favorable light: 364 yards and a pair of TDs through the air along with one on the ground and no INT’s. That’s typically good enough to lift your team to victory and most weeks it is, but the football gods had different plans on Saturday. Grier made several NFL throws on Saturday, including a certified dime to David Sills early in the second quarter that could not have been more perfectly placed. Unfortunately, what looked like a gutsy run on 3rd & 1 in the red zone ultimately ended up a fumble after the video review showed Grier lost control of the ball before going down. In a call back to last year’s narrow loss to Virginia Tech, Grier had the Mountaineers deep in the red zone in the waning seconds of regulation and (once again) eyed David Sills streaking through the end zone, a defender practically draped over his back and flags nowhere to be seen. A blown non-call and too many defensive miscues marred what could have been another thrilling entry in the Will Grier chronicle. The best case scenario now is that the redshirt senior is out for blood on Friday and rips through a porous Oklahoma defense and punches his and the rest of West Virginia’s ticket to Dallas for the Big 12 championship. If MountainGrier can do that, his legend status at WVU is all but cemented.
Gary Jennings, WR: If we were handing out helmet stickers based solely on circus catches, tight end Trevon Wesco would be getting this week’s honors for his bonkers one-handed snag and rumble through the Oklahoma State defense. But Jennings showed a truck-load of guts on Saturday as he was visibly hobbled and playing through a certain amount of pain. The Virginia native pulled in seven receptions for 92 yards and a score, his lone trip to past the pylon’s the result of a great move after the catch to break a tackle. Both Jennings and fellow wideout Marcus Simms have been slowed down in recent weeks and will need to live in the trainer’s room this week in the lead-up to Friday night’s bout with Oklahoma. Matching Heisman contender Kyler Murray blow-for-blow is going to take every ounce of star-power West Virginia has and, for a veteran like Jennings, a big game and an upset win over the Sooners would be the type of senior night finale that most players only dream of. Ready your hawk feathers, Gary.