Utes to face a depleted but still potent West Virginia offense

Sue Ogrocki, AP

West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen looks up at the scoreboard during game against Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017.

DALLAS — West Virginia hasn’t been on Utah’s radar since 1964 when the teams met in the Liberty Bowl in Atlantic City. The Utes prevailed 32-6 that day in the one and only game between the schools.

Now comes the encore, of sorts.

However, odds are it may not be worth the wait. The Mountaineers (7-5) enter Tuesday’s Heart of Dallas Bowl without a couple of key components. Highly touted quarterback Will Grier (broken finger) and two-time 1,000-yard rusher Justin Crawford (preparing for the NFL draft) are out. So, too, reports the Charleston Gazette-Mail, is guard Kyle Bosch.

Even so, Utah is still gearing up for what West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen and his staff do best. The Mountaineers average 485.1 yards of total offense per game. They’re getting 324.7 of those yards passing and are scoring 36.3 points per outing.

“They’re very well coached and they’ve got a prolific offense. Obviously it’s a different offense when Grier’s not the quarterback as far as what they gravitate towards and what they emphasize,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. “But coach Holgorsen is one of the best offensive coaches in the country, and there’s no doubt in our minds that they will have a great game-plan going in and it will be tough to stop.”

Although sophomore quarterback Chris Chugunov is fairly inexperienced with just 407 yards passing and two touchdowns this season, he did step in for the injured Grier in a 28-14 loss to Texas and started in the regular-season finale at Oklahoma, a 59-31 setback.

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