Chris Chugunov to leave it all on the field for WVU

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 25: Quarterback Chris Chuganov
NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 25: Quarterback Chris Chuganov /

WVU quarterback Chris Chugunov is getting a golden opportunity to shine on a big stage in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

He can make up for his performance against Oklahoma to end to regular season and find a rebirth of his collegiate career with a win against Utah in the Heart of Dallas Bowl. West Virginia takes on the 6-6 Utes with a chance to establish some momentum heading into 2018.

However, Chris Chugunov may not necessarily be in the plans moving forward. The WVU football team is getting quarterback Will Grier back next season, so Chugunov will be relegated back to his role as a substitute. His place on the depth chart isn’t guaranteed as transfer Jack Allison has a lot of hype and will likely be Grier’s No. 2.

So, this is Chugunov’s chance to prove himself. The game is hardly a gift-wrapped outcome, especially because Utah is the favored team. It’s not like Chugunov is playing Delaware State or East Carolina. He is taking on a solid team from a Power 5 conference. His previous two games, against Texas and OU, were tough battles and he made his way through them. Chugunov is definitely getting thrown into the fire with theses outings.

Chugunov saw action in four games this season, one better than 2016 where he played in three. In all, he threw for 407 yards this season on 34 of 62 passing, according to He’s been sacked four times so he has to develop his pocket presence and learn how to stay grounded when under attack.

Utah will probably try to rattle the redshirt sophomore, so an onslaught of rushers is to be expected all day inside the Cotton Bowl. The best attribute Chugunov has is his arm strength, so he will be able to get the ball to his playmakers.

That’s also a key component for the WVU offense. Chugunov has some talented guys around him, so David Sills, Gary Jennings, Marcus Simms and Ka’Raun White may have to bail him out with their sure hands and breakaway speed.

Most importantly, Chugunov has the confidence in his head coach. Dana Holgorsen has been known to praise his quarterbacks as many chances as he can and that’s the way he has been treating Chugunov in the weeks leading up to the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

“Having first team reps is going to help any quarterback feel more comfortable,” Holgorsen said in a press conference, reported by “We feel good about Chugs. I thought he played hard and battled hard.”

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The oddsmakers may not quite have that same faith in Chugs because the WVU football team is the underdog in this contest. The game won’t only be a chance for Chugunov to make his name as a Division I quarterback, but also for the Mountaineers to make a statement on national television.