The West Virginia Mountaineers looked to bounce back in a big way on the road at Kansas State Saturday after losing to the Texas Tech Red Raiders the previous week.
With a gutsy performance, the Mountaineers defeated Kansas State 24-20 and came away with their first win since September.
WVU looked much improved from the start Saturday. After giving up a 68-yard touchdown on the Wildcats’ first play on the game the WVU offense, led by quarterback Jarret Doege making his first Mountaineer start, scored touchdowns on consecutive drives.
The West Virginia defense also rebounded well. After allowing the long touchdown, the unit forced Kansas State to attempt two short field goals before halftime. The Mountaineers went into halftime with a 14-13 lead but missed an opportunity at points just before the half ended.
WVU got the ball back after Kansas State kicked a field goal with 43 seconds left in the second quarter. Runs of 15 and 19 yards by Leddie Brown and two nine-yard catches by Isaiah Esdale put WVU in position to attempt a 37-yard field goal as time expired. Freshman kicker Casey Legg, still filling in for the injured Evan Staley, missed the kick however and the Mountaineers could not increase their lead.
Kansas State scored another touchdown on their opening drive of the second half, but the WVU defense clamped down after that, allowing no further points. Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson had thrown only one interception all season coming into the game, but WVU picked him off twice en route to the victory.
West Virginia added a 51-yard field goal and another Doege touchdown pass to take a 24-20 lead in the third quarter and never looked back.
Freshman defensive back Exree Loe and junior defensive end Jeffrey Pooler Jr. had career days to lead the WVU defense. Loe recorded two pass breakups and Pooler had two tackles for loss.
The win moved WVU to a 4-6 record, 2-5 in the Big 12 while Kansas State drops to 6-4, 3-4.
The Mountaineers will return home next weekend to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys.