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West Virginia football vs. Youngstown State: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Mountaineers host Youngstown State

Kennedy McKoy #4 of the West Virginia Mountaineers runs past Jarrell Owens #93 and linebacker Jordan Burton #20 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium October 29, 2016 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
Kennedy McKoy #4 of the West Virginia Mountaineers runs past Jarrell Owens #93 and linebacker Jordan Burton #20 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium October 29, 2016 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)

MORGANTOWN, W.V. – Will Grier began the season as the No. 1 quarterback prospect for the 2019 NFL draft, and the senior signal caller may have jumped to the top of the Heisman Trophy race after his performance in Week 1 against Tennessee. After a dominant performance on both sides of the ball, 17th-ranked West Virginia will try to avoid a letdown Saturday when FCS opponent Youngstown State visits in the home opener.

TV: 6 p.m. ET, AT&T SportsNet. LINE: None

 

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Grier (3,490 passing yards, 34 touchdowns in 2017) completed 25-of-34 passes for a career-high 429 yards and five touchdowns - the most ever surrendered by a Volunteers' football team - in last Saturday's 40-14 thumping of Tennessee. "In the second half, that guy made some throws and they made some catches," Tennessee first-year coach Jeremy Pruitt told reporters after Grier spearheaded a 20-point third quarter to break open a close game. "Then a close game gets out of hand. You can disguise some looks and muddy the water, but the guy is experienced and knows what he's doing out there." Youngstown State, which played in the FCS title game last season in just its second season under former Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, dropped its opener at home last Saturday to Butler 23-21. The Mountaineers have won 14 straight home openers by an average of 30 points (six versus FCS teams) and are 2-0 all-time against the Penguins, including a 38-21 victory in 2016.

ABOUT YOUNGSTOWN STATE (0-1)

The Penguins squandered a 14-point third-quarter lead in the opener, allowing Butler to recover an onside kick with 1:18 left, and lost when Drew Bevelhimer converted a 44-yard field goal with four seconds remaining. Senior Tevin McCaster ran for 166 yards on 29 carries and quarterback Montgomery VanGorder, a grad transfer from Notre Dame who never threw a pass for the Fighting Irish, completed 18-of-27 attempts for 234 yards and three touchdowns in his first career start. McCaster was a first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection last season after rushing for 1,066 yards on 221 carries and 13 touchdowns. 

ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA (1-0)

David Sills V, one of 11 different receivers to catch a pass for the Mountaineers, had seven catches for 140 yards and two TDs against the Vols after securing 18 TD receptions last season. A defense that yielded 446 yards per game last season limited the Vols to 301 as a revamped defensive line led by USC transfer Kenny Bigelow Jr. (two tackles for loss, forced fumble) and Clemson transfer Jabril Robinson (three tackles) led the way. "We had seven or eight guys that we rotated in there, and we haven't been able to do that since I've been here," West Virginia eighth-year coach Dana Holgorsen pointed out. "We had no leadership in that group last year. Having guys like Bigelow and Robinson that are fifth-year and sixth-year seniors that have played at the highest level and got a lot of snaps … they've brought maturity and leadership to that group and they're bringing the younger guys along."

EXTRA POINTS

1. Grier has passed for 300 or more yards in 10 of his 12 games at West Virginia and thrown for five touchdown passes in a contest a school-record four times.

2. West Virginia WR T.J. Simmons, a transfer from Alabama, broke free down the far sideline for a 59-yard touchdown – West Virginia's only touchdown of the first half and Simmons' first catch as a Mountaineer. 

3. Mountaineers LB Charlie Benton will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a knee injury in the opener that will require surgery.

PREDICTION: West Virginia 52, Youngstown State 10

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