Selfless and satisfied, Sills in no rush to declare a position for 2016

West Virginia receiver David Sills (15) scores the decisive touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the Cactus Bowl.


PHOENIX — His season began as West Virginia’s top quarterback recruit and ended with the game-winning touchdown catch in the Cactus Bowl.

Given the unforeseen twists of his freshman year, David Sills wouldn’t suppose what position 2016 holds.

“This season went totally different than I expected,” said Sills, who made a midseason switch to receiver and finished with seven catches for 131 yards. “God opens many doors and works in mysterious ways, so I kind of just took what he gave me and ran with it.

“I’m just going to celebrate this win with my teammates and spend some time with my family. Then we’ll see what this offseason has in store.”

Sills’ only catch Saturday night—a 15-yard touchdown with 2:19 remaining—capped a 43-42 victory over Arizona State. The catch also came as a surprise. Sills expected Skyler Howard to target the opposite side, but the quarterback flipped a play-action pass toward the right and Sills spun toward the end zone when cornerback Lloyd Carrington slipped.

“It just happened to be me in that situation,” Sills said. “I thought the DB was going to come down and hit me pretty hard, but he must have slipped coming out of his break and the end zone was right there.”

With Arizona State scheming to stop the run, Howard threw for 532 yards and completed throws to 10 receivers.

“My touchdown was the last one, but we wouldn’t have been put in that situation if all the other guys didn’t make the plays throughout the game—and a lot tougher plays than the play I made,” Sills said. “We had to put the ball in the air today, and a lot of receivers made a lot of plays.”

Gibson on controversial replay: Shelton Gibson’s 37-yard sideline catch in the third quarter appeared to be a non-catch from several replay angles. When the video booth confirmed the catch and ruled Gibson had a foot inbounds, the Arizona State majority threaten to boo the lid off Chase Field.

“Oh my God,” said Gibson, referring to the tension of the lengthy replay review. “My right foot was down but the left foot didn’t look like it was in. I was just glad that they gave it to me.”

West Virginia scored on the next play to pull ahead 36-32.

White breaks out: Elevated by Jovon Durante’s academic ineligibility, Ka’Raun White produced a monstrous first half of four catches for 116 yards.

“I was wishing I got the ball a little bit more after halftime but I dropped a few and had some miscommunications,” said the sophomore.

In the postgame locker room White checked his cell phone, knowing there would be a message from older brother Kevin of the Chicago Bears.

“He texted me ‘Good game’ and said next year’s going to be your year, so keep working.”

Fade to Shorts: After West Virginia struggled to complete end-zone fade routes this season, Daikiel Shorts delivered a pair of touchdown catches. He beat Kweishi Brown on a 10-yarder before out-jumping Solomon Means for a 17-yard score.

“It was just nice to execute it,” said Shorts, who gained 97 yards overall on six receptions. “We’ve struggled a lot this year as a receiver group. Just to see the way we finished, with everybody contributing, was great.”

West Virginia receiver Daikiel Shorts (6) catches a touchdown pass beyond Arizona State defensive back Kweishi Brown (10) at the Cactus Bowl at Chase Field.

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