BY DAVID CHOUGH
Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
After a dominant showing the week before against SEC power Tennessee, when the senior signal caller passed for 429 yards and five touchdowns, Grier kept up the momentum this past weekend against Youngstown State and again put the nation on notice.
From the first drive, Grier picked up right where he left off in the opener, converting a third-and-short and a third-and-long in the same series to get the West Virginia offense going. An untimely interception ended that drive, but the mark of a good quarterback is a short-term memory. Right on cue, Grier led WVU on a scoring drive the next time they got the ball, displaying a soft touch on his short- and medium-range passes. It would be the first of two consecutive scoring drives that helped the Mountaineers build a two-score lead at the half.
From there, Grier came out guns blazing. He threw a beautiful deep ball to Gary Jennings for a touchdown to start the third quarter, and continued to attack the deep part of the field for the rest of the game. Youngstown State could not handle his arm strength, as he completed passes of 30 or more yards on three of the next four drives. Along the way, Grier spread the wealth, competing each of his three deep balls to a different receiver, which really opened up the passing game. His last play of the game was an appropriate one, hitting Dominique Maiden wide open in the end zone for 40 yards to put West Virginia up by 32.
In all, Grier completed an absurd 80.8 percent of his passes for 332 yards, and it felt as though he could’ve thrown for more if West Virginia had needed it. One key for quarterbacks is to not fall into trap games and take opposing teams lightly after a statement win. Knowing this, Grier made sure to keep his concentration high in bringing his A-game despite the perceived quality of the opponent. West Virginia will need Grier to continue on this warpath if it wants to make some noise in November and beyond.
Emanuel Hall, WR, Missouri
The best wide receivers deliver greatness consistently, but Hall did it on a very precise level this week. After going off for 171 yards receiving against UT Martin, Hall displayed his uncanny ability to shake defenders with his combination of size and speed for another 171 yards receiving, this time against Wyoming.
Kelvin McKnight, WR, Samford
Their bid for a major upset may have fallen short, but Samford and especially McKnight showed plenty of heart in their hard-fought matchup against Florida State. McKnight consistently got open against the Seminoles’ secondary, using his footwork to turn catches into big plays with 14 catches for 215 yards and two scores.
Drew Eckels, QB, Western Kentucky
It was a rough day for Eckles and the Hilltoppers, as he was sacked six times in a loss to Maine. But Eckles still delivered with 347 yards and three touchdowns through the air, and even led his team down the field with under a minute to set up what would have been a game-tying field goal. His never-quit attitude will be a key asset for Western Kentucky down the line.
Josh Watson, LB, Colorado State
Colorado State hung on to beat Arkansas, and Watson’s tenacity played a huge part in upsetting this SEC foe. The senior’s ability to play sideline-to-sideline allowed him to play a part in 12 tackles and even get a pass deflection, as the Rams won 34-27.