MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The sight of West Virginia receiver Marcus Simms puking during pregame warmups at Texas Tech brought a team manager rushing to his aid.
Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital and quarterback Will Grier welcomed it.
“That’s Marcus every day now. That means he’s ready to play,” Spavital said. “I don’t think they’re butterflies. I don’t know what it is, so we just don’t mess with him on that.
“He’s ready to play when I see that. Will and I were laughing at that one, because we saw it and were like, OK, Marcus is ready to roll.”
Simms produced a huge first half of nine catches for 138 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown, as West Virginia won 42-34.
Fellow receiver David Sills has never witnessed another teammate go through such a ritual. “That’s normal for him. Marcus is one of a kind, for sure.”
Coach Dana Holgorsen has not cleared Simms to speak with the media during two years as a starter.
Robinson explains personal foul before half
After Kenny Robinson’s late-half interception thwarted a Texas Tech threat, his 42-yard return gave West Virginia a chance to pad its lead with 10 seconds left.
Then came a flag on Robinson for unsportsmanlike conduct, moving the ball from Texas Tech’s 38-yard line back to the WVU 47. Will Grier took a knee on the next play.
“Yeah, I heard about it at halftime,” said Robinson, who didn’t think his post-play antics warranted a penalty.
“The offensive players are always dancing, so I was thinking a little handshake thing was going to be cool.”
Apparently, defensive players aren’t granted the same latitude as receivers David Sills and Gary Jennings, who moments earlier celebrated a touchdown with simultaneous “Karate Kid” crane kicks.
“It was way less than that, which is why I didn’t think I was going to get in trouble,” Robinson said. “It was a big interception but I messed up by that penalty I got.”
Some players merely play in the Texas heat. West Virginia safety/linebacker JoVanni Stewart was born in it, molded by it.
Even that lifelong training wasn’t enough to save Stewart from the same cramping problem that troubled several defensive teammates against Texas Tech. Stewart was helped off the field by trainers in the third quarter and missed two plays trying to rehydrate.
“Nobody here is used to Texas heat,” Stewart said. “I used to be. But coming up here, that all went straight down the drain. I’m not going to lie.”
Stewart is from the Houston suburbs – statistically speaking, the third-most humid metropolitan area in the United States. He knew how to prepare for the conditions the Mountaineers dealt with. Yet it still wasn’t enough.
“I tried drinking a lot of water and all that stuff,” Stewart said. “But my calves just weren’t agreeing with me.”
The uptempo Red Raiders offense did not help matters any. Texas Tech ran 52 plays in the second half, wearing down a defense that had faced an average of 62 snaps per game previously.
Kansas is the third Big 12 game on the Mountaineers’ slate and it’ll be the third time defensive coordinator Tony Gibson must cope with multiple quarterbacks.
The Jayhawks could go with Carter Stanley, Peyton Bender or even Miles Kendrick as a change-of-pace runner.
“I get sick of looking at offenses,” Gibson joked.
Against Kansas State on Sept. 22, the Wildcats started Skylar Thompson but switched to Alex Delton in the second half.
Last Saturday an injury to true freshman Alan Bowman forced Texas Tech to turn to Jett Duffey, whose more mobile style caused WVU fits during a second-half comeback.
N.C. State schedules makeup game
Filling the void left by Hurricane Florence, N.C. State tentatively agreed to play East Carolina on Dec. 1., pending either school qualifying for their respective conference championships.
This is a makeup game following the cancellation of a Sept. 15 showdown against West Virginia.
— Alex Hickey and Sean Manning contributed to this story.