Bowl participation: WVU’s Will Grier non-committal, David Sills says he’ll be there
West Virginia senior quarterback Will Grier offered no clue early Saturday morning when asked if he plans to play in his team’s bowl game next month.
“I have no thoughts,” he said after the Mountaineers lost to Oklahoma, 59-56, to end their regular season. “I was planning on playing next weekend (in the Big 12 Championship game). It, honestly, hasn’t been on my mind at all.”
Meanwhile, senior wide receiver David Sills V, who is usually on the same wavelength with his quarterback, wouldn’t miss the game if you paid him. And, actually, there probably is a nice NFL pay day waiting for him next year, a situation that would be enhanced if Sills remains injury-free before the draft.
“We have to rally the troops and win this bowl game,” he said.
To be fair, Grier’s non-answer doesn’t definitively reveal his plans. In fact, when Sills was asked if thought Friday represented his last game with Grier, he said, “No, I don’t.”
A bowl game may sound like an unappealing consolation prize for the Mountaineers (8-3, 6-3). Not long ago, they had hopes of reaching the College Football Playoff before scoring 97 points in their last two regular-season games and losing them both.
But Sills said he welcomes the opportunity to join his teammates for a final game somewhere. Representatives of the Camping World Bowl and Alamo Bowl watched the game from the press box at Milan Puskar Stadium, along with interested observers from 10 NFL teams.
“I’m 100 percent dedicated to this program,” Sills said. “I’ve put too much time and effort, we’ve put too much time and effort together. I’ll 100 percent be playing in the bowl game.”
Sills said restarting the team’s energy for a bowl won’t be difficult, even with a month between games.
“It’s easy, honestly,” he said. “I think the group of guys we have in this locker room — it honestly hurts right now — but the group of guys we have in the locker room are so strongly connected with one another, we can get right back on track, once we start bowl prep.”
Grier said it’s been a fun ride for him, too. He has thrown for 7,354 yards and 71 touchdowns the past two seasons after transferring from Florida. He set a program record by reaching 300 or more aerial yards in 19 of 22 games.
“It’s truly an honor,” he said of playing for West Virginia. “It brought me joy every day I woke up and came in here and went to work and played for this state and this university.
“Fun game, I’m proud of the way we fought. I think a lot of guys laid it out there.”
NOTES: West Virginia safety Dravon-Askew Henry, an Aliquippa graduate, tied a school record with his 50 th career start (Joe Madsen, 2008-2012). … Safety Kenny Robinson of Wilkinsburg and Imani Christian recorded both WVU turnovers, recovering a fumble on the Sooners’ 22 and intercepting pass in the end zone from quarterback Kyler Murray.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry at [email protected] or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.