Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State football: 5 things to know about No. 6 West Virginia

Mountaineers pushing Heisman candidacy of QB Will Grier

West Virginia quarterback Will Grier has impressive numbers this season, but has also thrown seven interceptions, including three Saturday against Kansas. (Ben Queen/USA TODAY Sports)
West Virginia quarterback Will Grier has impressive numbers this season, but has also thrown seven interceptions, including three Saturday against Kansas. (Ben Queen/USA TODAY Sports)

Fresh off a top-25 upset, Iowa State (2-3, 1-2 Big 12) hosts No. 6 West Virginia (5-0, 3-0 Big 12) at 6 p.m. Saturday (FS1). Here are five things you need to know about the Mountaineers.

1. Dana Holgorsen, Iowa native

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen is a native of Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and was a receiver for Iowa Wesleyan in college. As the head coach of the Mountaineers, Holgorsen has a 53-37 overall record.

Since joining the Big 12 in 2012, his record is 43-34 overall and his conference record is 27-27. Holgorsen's best season came in 2016, when he led West Virginia to a 10-3 record.

Holgorsen led West Virginia to one BCS Bowl during his tenure. That was the 2011 Orange Bowl, when his Mountianeers beat Clemson 70-33. Since that win, Holgorsen has only won one other bowl game, which was back in 2015 when West Virginia beat Arizona State 43-42 in the Cactus Bowl.

2. Will Grier for Heisman

I’m not trying to promote West Virginia quarterback Will Grier to win the Heisman Trophy, but if you click on his official bio, that’s what you’re greeted with.

The site gives you game-by-game recaps, videos, something called a “Will to Win” section, his supporting cast, various stories from different news sites, a bio about each of his family members and all his awards and accomplishments, including player of the week awards.

The Heisman talk isn’t unfounded; Grier has been exceptional this season. He’s completed 71 percent of his 177 pass attempts for 1,819 yards and 21 touchdowns while leading the Mountaineers to an undefeated start.

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He’s thrown for more than 330 yards in every game this season and has at least three passing touchdowns. The only knock on Grier are the turnovers. He’s thrown seven interceptions, including three against Kansas last week.

3. Will Grier’s famous family

Grier’s family already has a mention in this piece, but apparently every single one of them is famous. They’re like North Carolina’s version of the Kardashians.

His father, Chad, is the least famous of them all. He was Will’s high school coach and is now the coach at Oceanside Collegiate Academy. Will’s mother, Elizabeth Grier-Floyd is a nutrition and fitness expert and has over 360,000 followers on Instagram.

His brothers Nash and Hayes Grier are internet superstars. Nash started out as a Vine comedian before the app went under. But it didn’t matter, his fame had already been set. He starred in “The Outfield” and had a major role in “You Get Me.” He has over 22 million followers on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Hayes was also a Vine comedian before the app was scratched. But he maintained his fame too. He was the youngest contestant ever on Dancing with the Stars and has over 6.5 million followers on Instagram and YouTube.

4. Former Mountaineers in the NFL

The Mountaineers have had a string of first-round NFL Draft selections since joining the Big 12. Since 2012, West Virginia has had four players drafted in the first round.

Defensive end Bruce Irvin went to the Seattle Seahawks with the 15th overall pick. Irvin holds the distinct “honor” of being the first player to ever be ejected from a Super Bowl. In 2016, he singed a four-year, $37 million deal with the Oakland Raiders.

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In 2013, wide receiver Tavon Austin was drafted with the eighth overall pick by the then-St. Louis Rams. Austin’s best season came in 2016 when he caught 58 passes for 509 yards for the Los Angles Rams.

Receiver Kevin White followed in Austin’s footsteps and was picked No. 7 overall by the Chicago Bears in 2015. White had trouble seeing the field for the Bears. He had a stress fracture in his shin as a rookie and had to get a rod inserted in his leg. In 2016, White fractured his fibula in the same leg as the stress fracture. White started the Bears’ season opener in 2017, but fractured his shoulder blade in that game. The Bears declined his fifth-year option.

West Virginia’s most recent first-round draft pick was safety Karl Joseph. Joseph was picked 14th overall by the Oakland Raiders. Joseph has been a starter since halfway through his rookie season.

5. The Bowdens are back

OK, the Bowdens aren’t actually back, but after diving into the familiy’s coaching history in the Akron version of “5 Things,” it’s interesting that they’re making a reappearance.

Bobby Bowden, the legendary Florida State coach, started off as the head coach of West Virginia. He was the coach of the Mountaineers from 1970-75. He led them to a 42-26 record and a berth to the Peach Bowl in 1972.

He left West Virginia for Florida State after the 1975 season.

l Comments: benv43@gmail.com

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