Bowl Preview: WVU, Utah Battle in Heart of Dallas

West Virginia wide receiver David Sills V left scores past Baylor cornerback Grayland Arnold and safety Taion Sells right in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday Oct. 21 2017 in Waco Texas. (Rod Aydelotte  Waco Tribune Herald

That is what West Virginia hopes to accomplish in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Utah. Chugs has been at West Virginia for three years, so it's not like he doesn't know the offense. Backup quarterback Chris Chugunov will get another start for the Mountaineers. The Mountaineers, meanwhile, are 0-4 against the spread in their last four bowl games, are 0-5 against the number in their last five games played in December, and are 1-4-1 against the spread in their last six games overall. "It takes time and you can't just flip a switch like the game at Texas in the second quarter".

Did you know? Both teams are playing in a bowl game for the fourth consecutive season.

Utah has better news involving nine-game starter Tyler Huntley, whom Whittingham this week pronounced 100 percent ready.

At West Virginia, the men's basketball team is coached by Bob Huggins, known to many as "Hugs".

The Utes were much stingier on defense, giving up almost 100 yards fewer per game on the ground than the Mountaineers.

In the regular-season finale, a 59-31 loss at Oklahoma, he was 10 for 20 passing for 137 yards.

After leaking like a sieve on the first drive, WVU's defense got some things figured out and started limiting what Utah could do on offense.

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Even though Grier and starting running back Justin Crawford, who left the team to prepare for the National Football League draft, won't be on the field, Whittingham is expecting his defense to have its hands full. Gary Jennings has become a tough, possession receiver by making 94 catches for 1,030 yards, and senior Ka'Raun White is nearing 1,000 yards himself with 11 scores.

Chugunov took over as signal-caller when Will Grier dislocated the middle finger on his passing hand, and broke a bone in it, while trying for a touchdown in the first quarter against Texas on November 18. "We think he is a tremendous player, he was second in the Pac 12 in offense as a true sophomore, his future is bright, but he also has to put some meat on that body".

Asked whether he views the matchup as a bookend to 2017 or propulsion for 2018, Holgorsen said, "I sure as heck would like for it to be both". This year's Heart of Dallas Bowl might be missing a few of the big names we saw from the regular season, but it's also a preview of what to expect from each team next fall.

Whittingham views the bowl week as a means to reinforce his staff's commitment to recruiting Texas.

A problem veteran Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham faced until the team arrived in Dallas. But if the Big 12 Conference has taught us anything, all it really takes to win the league is an elite offense that can outscore anyone.

"To play the likes of Utah, of the Pac-12, is an honor". It was always a secondary area for us in the years prior to me becoming the head coach.

Wednesday, Holgorsen said that Utah punter Mitch Wishnowsky, an Australian-style punter, is one of the best at his position.

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