Will Grier bolstered his big-play reputation by throwing five touchdowns, two of them to David Sills V, as No. 17 West Virginia beat Tennessee 40-14 at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C., on Saturday.
After a 65-minute lightning delay extended halftime, Grier threw scoring passes on three consecutive drives to Sills (33 yards), Gary Jennings Jr. (28 yards) and Kennedy McKoy (14 yards). Grier finished 25-of-34 passing for 429 yards, adding a 10-yard score to Sills with 2:02 left after Tennessee jumped offsides on a field-goal attempt.
Sills, who paced the FBS with 18 touchdown catches in 2017, had seven receptions for 140 yards for West Virginia (1-0). Jennings added six catches for 113 yards.
The Vols (0-1), coming off a 4-8 campaign in which their offense ranked 124th among 129 FBS teams, were outgained 547-301.
Alabama transfer T.J. Simmons made his first college catch a doozy, racing 59 yards for a touchdown that put the Mountaineers up 10-0.
Jarrett Guarantano, who emerged as the Vols’ starting quarterback after a preseason battle with Stanford transfer Keller Chryst, completed 19 of 25 passes for 172 yards. Tim Jordan gained 118 yards on 20 carries.
Jeremy Pruitt didn’t flinch in his first tough decision as Tennessee’s head coach, leaving his offense on the field in the second quarter for a fourth-and-goal from inches inside the 2. The move paid off when Guarantano tossed a play-action touchdown to tight end Dominick Wood-Anderson, capping a nearly 9-minute drive.
Evan Staley kicked field goals of 35 and 26 yards for West Virginia.
—Field Level Media