For the second game in a row West Virginia wide receiver Shelton Gibson was able to get behind the defensive coverage and register a 100 yard game, catching four balls for 144 yards and marking his second 100 yard performance of the season and the sixth of his career as a Mountaineer. Gibson's biggest catch may have been his 51 yard reception in the third quarter that came after the Mountaineers recovered a fumble. Gibson has been Skyler Howard's favorite target for deep balls this year and credits the rapport the two have developed in practice as a big reason why.
"Every single day we work on deep balls," Gibson said. "We wear the defense out all the time so as you see (BYU) had corners rotating in and out and we took them deep so we could run past them."
Another receiver who has some serious jets is Jovon Durante, who had not registered a single catch in the first two games of the season. Gibson discussed the importance of getting Durante more involved in the offense and hopes that getting him some catches early in this game will give the sophomore receiver a much needed confidence boost going forward.
"We saw that he was a little down in the games before," Gibson said. "We told him, 'man we have a lot of games left and we know you're a baller so just go out and play.'"
Durante wasn't the only receiver to get more involved in the passing game, as Skyler Howard spread the wealth and completed passes to ten different Mountaineers on the day. That kind of production should help immensely when West Virginia has to win in high scoring contests, which there will no shortage of as the Big 12 conference slate kicks off next Saturday. Gibson doesn't mind though, as the junior receiver says he prefers winning in shootouts to just about any other scenario.
"I love them," Gibson said about playing in shootouts. "I would rather blow a team out but just playing in a close game builds up a lot of things."
West Virginia appears more than equipped for many more of the high scoring affairs and Gibson, who has never lacked confidence, seems to agree as he shared his thoughts about the overall talent of the Mountaineer receiving core.
"We talk about it every single day in practice," Gibson said. "We're the best receiving core in the nation and we just try to prove that in every single game."
West Virginia running back Rushel Shell was also instrumental in Saturday's victory, as the veteran back picked up his second and third touchdowns of the season in the game. Shell. who had limited production and had to fight for everything he earned, discussed his impressions of BYU's defense.
"They were the most physical team we have played," Shell said. "They were well prepared so it was just get what you can get and cover the ball."
Shell provides a veteran presence to a backfield that currently features two talented, albeit very green, newcomers in Justin Crawford and Kennedy McKoy. That leadership is instrumental when playing in tight games and Shell said this may be the most tense game he's ever played in at the college level.
"This is the most tense game I have ever been in," Shell admitted. "It came down to the last seconds and it's something I will never forget about."
The game didn't have to be so tense though, as the Mountaineers seemingly collapsed on both sides of the ball after taking a 35-19 lead late in the game. Shell said that the loss of focus among his teammates was visibly evident and spoke about the shift in attitude after the Mountaineers went up by 16.
"Coach Holgorsen was walking up and down the sidelines telling everyone, 'don't be too comfortable, don't relax,' but in reality a bunch of guys were relaxing and thinking that the game was over," Shell said. "But BYU is known for coming back and they rarely lose that (type of) game."null