Here is everything you need to know about the Mountaineers’ next game in our West Virginia vs. Delaware State preview.
Date: Saturday, September 16th, 12:00 E.T.
TV: AT&T SportsNet
Radio: Mountaineers IMG Sports Network/Sirius Ch 132, XM Ch 199
Delaware State Hornets
Jack McDaniels, quarterback
McDaniels is a freshman quarterback who beat out sophomore Keenan Black for the starting job the final week of the preseason. He’s had his ups and downs through the two losses, completing less than 50% of his passes while throwing for 321 yards with zero touchdowns to an interception. The Hornets have relied more on their running game, with 67 carries to 58 pass attempts through two games, despite trailing throughout most of both contests.
Brian Cavicante, linebacker
The sophomore linebacker is the defensive star for the Hornets. He’s a preseason third-team All-MEAC selection after finishing in the top 20 in the conference in total tackles last season as a true freshman.
West Virginia Mountaineers
Will Grier, quarterback
It’s Grier’s last tune up before conference play starts next week (granted it’s at Kansas). How much time does Dana Holgorsen give him just to get enough reps to feel comfortable heading into Big 12 play, but also not risking him getting injured. It’s a fine line that is likely the biggest thing (and maybe only thing) keeping Holgo up late at night these week, outside of his usual midnight 24 ounce Red Bull.
David Sills, wide receiver
Sills has come back to Morgantown and made a huge statement and impact. He has 16 receptions and five touchdowns through two games and appears to be quickly becoming one of Grier’s favorite targets along with Gary Jennings.
How long will WVU starters play?
Grier should have another field day, likely even more impressive than last week’s performance against East Carolina. That’s assuming he isn’t put on the bench in the second quarter. Delaware State was picked to finished last in the MEAC, so if you’re a West Virginia fan and want to see the starters play, don’t waste too much time tailgating after kick off. With conference play starting next week (albeit at Kansas), it seems unlikely that Dana Holgorsen will have his starters in much past halftime.
Delaware State running attack
If the Hornets have any chance of trying to put something together early, it will be behind their running game of Mike Waters (preseason second-team All-MEAC) and Bryce Alleyne (preseason third-team All-MEAC). The two have combined to gain 143 of Delaware State’s 170 rushing yards on the season. With a freshman at quarterback in a very difficult environment, any chance the Hornets have will start in the backfield. Plus, the Hornets defense has struggled this season, so putting together sustained drives (like last week’s nine-play, 60-yard touchdown drive against Hampton which put DSU up in the second quarter), will be welcomed.
Tune up for the Mountaineers
As mentioned above, the Mountaineers schedule has a four-week stretch that is fairly easy: East Carolina (last week), Delaware State (this week), at Kansas, and then a bye week. The challenge is for Dana Holgorsen and his staff is to keep his guys motivated and inspired over these four weeks, because once Big 12 play really gets ramped up, the travel alone is difficult enough for the Mountaineers. This four-week stretch can be a chance to add things to the playbook and get rested for a loaded October/November slate.
West Virginia 63, Delaware State 7
Delaware State will be coming to Morgantown hoping for a miracle. Unfortunately for the Hornets, this could end up being a very long afternoon against a West Virginia team that is going to be ranked in the Top 25 at some point again this season. Will Grier will be on the bench for most of the second half with Chris Chugunov getting even more reps than last week. Justin Crawford will pile up another 100-yard game on 10 carries or less before he takes a seat for Kennedy McKoy, Tevin Bush and Martell Pettaway. Last week, 11 receivers caught passes for the Mountaineers against East Carolina, a number that could be topped this Saturday.