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West Virginia’s Jennings finally finds zone

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Gary Jennings celebrates one of his three touchdowns Saturday. - WEST VIRGINIA

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Gary Jennings led West Virginia with 97 catches in 2017, but only one was in the end zone.

"We gave him so much crap," Dana Holgorsen was recalling for reporters Saturday evening at Milan Puskar Stadium. "He scored 1 percent of the time he touched the ball. He was tired of hearing it."

No kidding. Jennings caught three touchdown passes from Heisman Trophy candidate Will Grier in the No. 14 Mountaineers' 52-17 rout of Youngstown State, scoring on plays of 11 and 24 yards in the second quarter, then a 33-yarder in the third. He'd finish with six total catches for 97 yards, so that touchdown rate went up to 50 percent. He now has four touchdowns on the young season.

"It feels great," Jennings said. "And the win feels even better."

Grier also had a 40-yard touchdown pass Dominique Maiden in the fourth quarter, completing 21 of 26 passes for 332 yards. He and the Mountaineers were slow to start in wet conditions, but the offense wound up with 625 total yards. It was Grier's 11th passing performance of 300-plus yards in 13 career games.

"I thought Will did a really good job of getting us into the right plays," Holgorsen said. "We're a big-play offense, always have been, and I told Will at halftime, 'Don't get anxious and do dumb things because we're frustrated with 5 or 6 yards per play. Just continue to manage the game.' And he did."

It was West Virginia's home opener, the week after beating Tennessee, 40-14, in Charlotte, N.C. The Mountaineers will conclude their non-conference schedule next Saturday with a return to North Carolina, this time to Raleigh to face N.C. State, also 2-0.

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