DALLAS — When a running lane opened wide for Zach Moss on Utah’s fourth play from scrimmage, his 58-yard touchdown put West Virginia in trail position for good.
“I didn’t get us in the right formation and it cost us,” West Virginia middle linebacker Al-Rasheed Benton said. “Put that one on me.”
Moss’ huge run highlighted a 150-yard performance on 20 carries in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, which the Utes ruled 30-14.
“We just misfit a run right there that killed us,” said Mountaineers defensive coordinator Tony Gibson. “We missed a check. They went to unbalanced line and we missed it.”
Quarterback Tyler Huntley benefited from the defensive attention Moss was garnering by scoring two short touchdowns off play-fakes to the running back.
Holgorsen on struggling backups
With West Virginia’s top two offensive linemen absent and quarterback Will Grier wearing sweats on the sideline, coach Dana Holgorsen wasn’t giving his offense a pass.
“You need guys to step in and play at a high level,” he said. “On the O-line, guys need to step in there and play better, and they didn’t. You lose a great quarterback like Will Grier, you need a backup quarterback to go in and play great, and he didn’t.”
Battling press coverage, West Virginia’s David Sills was self-critical after failing to make a catch.
“I know I could have done a better job of getting open,” Sills said. “I wish we could have had a little more time with the ball in Chugs’ hands to sit back there and make some reads.”
David Long’s ability to squirt through gaps was on display with 2.5 sacks, capping a season in which West Virginia’s Will linebacker made amends for missing four games with a knee injury.
“He finds a way to get through there somehow, some way,” Gibson said. “I’m excited to get to coach him for two more years.”