West Virginia Mountaineers v #15 Iowa State Hawkeyes
Saturday, November 4, 2017, 3:30 p.m. ET
Milan Puskar Stadium – Morgantown, WV
West Virginia (20), Iowa State (16)
1. Will Grier talented, but inconsistent
Grier hype has picked up in recent weeks, and at times it’s easy to see why. He’s an athletic quarterback with the ability to make some exciting plays out of structure, but there are some issues with processing speed and decision-making still. Grier put up an ill-advised, underthrown 50-50 ball that was intercepted late in the first half with the Mountaineers threatening, a decision that probably wasn’t wise considering WVU was on the cusp of field goal range already. Now the ball was catchable and the receiver probably should have come down with it, but Grier has to manage that situation a little better and at least give a more advantageous ball if he’s gonna take that shot.
Grier has other moments of sheer brilliance, including launching a 55-yard touchdown from a clean pocket that hit his receiver right in stride for six. He’s shown some nice touch on the deep ball, but may not have the quickest release or the speediest processing from the pocket either. Grier’s best throws come when he has plenty of time and isn’t rushed, but when his clock is sped up, things get more sketchy quickly. I’m curious to see more of him moving forward.
2. WVU running backs impress
Justin Crawford showed great patience and vision as a runner all game, and the 6-0, 200-pound rusher could find a home for himself at the next level as an ideal third down back. Crawford isn’t targeted a ton, but shows some ability in space and the shiftiness to make things happen with the ball in his hands. True sophomore Kennedy McCoy isn’t draft eligible yet, but he looks like another player we’ll be talking about down the road after showing off his burst and agility in the open field. He’s a fun athlete with some versatility and toughness to his game.
3. Ka’Raun White continuing to ball out
White has proven himself to be Grier’s favorite receiver this season, catching touchdowns passes in five straight games and seven of his last eight. Grier trusts White down the field and the receiver doesn’t leave him hanging often, catching a couple tight window throws while taking a lick. His best catch came on a skinny post that he snagged away from two defenders who had their sights set on an interception. He looks like he has enough speed to be a vertical threat and the size to win some 50/50 balls as well at 6-1, 200 pounds. After a 4-catch, 167-yard outing, White is officially on my radar now.
4. WVU safety Kyzir White looks like NFL prototype
Psuedo linebacker/hybrid safety defenders are all the rage these days, and 6-2, 218-pound Kyzir White looks the NFL’s model at the position. White has the physicality and enough size to play around the box, but seems like a decent athlete as well, although he wasn’t tested a ton in this game. I don’t know that this will be a game that scouts look to immediately on White’s resume, but he has some traits and tools that could fill a very specific role in the NFL.
5. Allen Lazard held mostly in check
Lazard has made some nice splash plays this season and had another against the Mountaineers, boxing out a corner on a rebound-like slot fade in the end zone. He’s a big-bodied receiver who plays like it, but I just don’t see the suddenness or speed to separate much in his route tree, which could lead to a lot of contested situations in the NFL. At 6-5, 222-pounds, that’s just fine for Lazard, who could project as a tremendous red zone weapon in next year’s draft.