2017-11-22 / Sports

Chip Shots

by Jim Buzzerd

Ouch!

If you’re a fan of the West Virginia University football team, last Saturday couldn’t have gone much worse for you as WVU lost to Texas 28-14. West Virginia’s offensive success this season has been largely predicated on the passing of Will Grier. On Saturday Grier suffered a gruesome break of his right middle finger when he tried to score a touchdown while reaching for the left pylon at the goal line. Talk about a messed up day!

The extent of Grier’s injury wasn’t widely known immediately. I saw him running to the pylon and the official signal a touchdown. I thought to myself, “good, but that wasn’t the call I would have made from inside the one.” Then I saw Grier running to the sideline with his right arm dangling gingerly. I figured it was a shoulder problem or something, but my reaction was then an out loud grumbling about the play call that got our quarterback hurt.

It was third and goal from inside the one and a review had already nullified a Justin Crawford touchdown two plays earlier. I’m thinking either run Crawford behind Elijah Wellman, or just give it to Wellman. Things were soon to get worse, much worse. The officials reviewed Grier’s touchdown and ruled he fumbled it out of the end zone for a touchback, so no touchdown and Texas had the ball.

It was at the end of the review when pictures of Grier’s broken finger began to surface in the stadium. It was the kind of fracture that make some people, yours truly included, a bit queasy. It was also evident that this was worse than a dislocation, and that Grier’s amazing season was almost certainly over. By Saturday night it was confirmed that Grier is out for this week’s game at Oklahoma, but had not been ruled out for the bowl game.

Since Saturday, Grier returned to his home state of North Carolina for surgery and he will not be available for a bowl game. The bigger question pertaining to Grier is if he will be a senior on the West Virginia team next season, or will he be on someone’s sideline in the NFL? There are no answers to that question at this point. There is a chance the injury may still be a problem come time for the NFL combines.

While we wait, we get to watch seldom used sophomore quarterback Chris Chugunov get his first start at Oklahoma this Saturday. I’ve seen some of the internet chatter complaining that Chugunov wasn’t adequately prepared to take over for Grier Saturday. I tend to agree with those who put the responsibility on the coaching staff to find more playing time for the back up quarterback.

I will also say that completing 14 of 26, 189 yards, no interceptions and one touchdown wasn’t that bad of a day for a kid playing his first meaningful playing time.

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