Just five minutes into Saturday’s game against the winless Kansas Jayhawks, things were not looking good for West Virginia.
The Mountaineers (3-1, 2-1 Big 12) started the game playing sloppy on both sides of the football. On offense, WVU’s first three drives ended in a lost fumble and two punts and the Jayhawks (0-4, 0-3) took advantage.
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Kansas was able to convert the fumble into a field goal, taking a 3-0 lead, and then scored a touchdown on its next drive on a 48-yard pass from Miles Kendrick to Andrew Parchment that should have been picked off. Sophomore cornerback Nicktroy fortune got his hands on Kendrick’s pass, but the ball found it’s way into Parchment’s hands and into the endzone.
Down 10-0 against a Kansas team that has struggled mightily this season was not where WVU wanted to be in the first quarter of this game.
Following Kansas’s first punt, the Mountaineers found itself at midfield looking to make up some ground. Kansas was called for defensive pass interference and one play later WVU quarterback Jarret Doege was able to get the ball to receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton for a 33-yard touchdown.
From there, the Mountaineers completely took over. Led by junior running back Leddie Brown, WVU went on to score 10 points in the second quarter and take a 17-10 lead into the half.
A steady diet of Brown and WVU’s defense playing up to its ability helped the Mountaineers score 21-straight points to start the second half.
Brown carried the ball 18 times for 195 yards, including an 87-yard touchdown run in the third quarter. He also chipped in five receptions for 36 yards and scored two total touchdowns. Brown’s performance helped pick up a WVU offense that was otherwise unimpressive for much of the day.
Doege completed 26-44 passes for 318 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Mountaineer receivers struggled with drops throughout the game, but Ford-Wheaton led the way with five receptions, 89 yards and a touchdown.
It was on defense where WVU dominated the most. On its first two drives, Kansas gained 63 yards and scored 10 points. On their next 13 drives, the Jayhawks scored zero points and gained 84 yards total.
Running back Pooka Williams Jr. added a kick-off return touchdown late in the fourth quarter to make the final score 38-17.
Linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo led the way with nine tackles while defensive ends Jeffery Pooler Jr. and Akheem Mesidor both had two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss. Safety Alonzo Addae and nose tackle Darius Stills both intercepted Kendrick.
WVU moves to 4-1 on the season and will next travel to Lubbock, Texas for a game against Texas Tech next Saturday. That will be the second of a five-week stretch of consecutive Big 12 games for the Mountaineers.
Kansas drops to 0-4 and will travel for a game with their in-state rivals at Kansas State.