After a disappointing loss at Texas Tech last week in which West Virginia’s offense did not play very well, a lot of people were down on the Mountaineers coming into this week’s game against No. 16 Kansas State.
The way the game started, fears about the West Virginia (4-2, 3-2 Big 12) offense seemed to be validated. WVU’s first three drives gained 73 yards on 24 plays (3-yard average) and ended with a made field goal, a missed field goal and a punt, all in the first quarter.
But a big second quarter erased those fears as the Mountaineers rolled to a 37-10 victory.
The second quarter was the complete opposite, however. WVU’s next three drives all produced touchdowns. They gained 186 yards on 16 plays 11.6-yard average) with touchdowns scored by Leddie Brown, Ali Jennings and Winston Wright.
Kansas State (4-2, 4-1) had its own early offensive struggles, with true freshmen quarterback Will Howard throwing two interceptions. Howard led the Wildcats on a 73-yard touchdown drive to end the first half, but the Mountaineers led 24-10 at halftime.
The third quarter again went in WVU’s favor. The Mountaineers kicked a 25-yard field goal on the opening drive of the second half and then linebacker Dylan Tonkery intercepted Howard for the third time of the game and took it 18 yards into the endzone to give WVU a 34-10 lead.
The Mountaineers added one more field goal and coasted to a 37-10 victory, their fifth-consecutive victory over Kansas State.
WVU quarterback Jarret Doege completed 22-34 passes for 301 yards and two touchdowns. Brown carried the ball 24 times for 102 yards and a touchdown. Alec Sinkfield added 89 more yards on the ground. Reciever Bryce Ford-Wheaton led the team with 104 yards on three receptions with Wright and Jennings each catching a touchdown.
The interceptions on defense went to cornerback Nicktroy Fortune, safety Sean Mahone and Tonkery. Dante Stills and Jared Bartlett picked up sacks on Howard.
Howard completed 19-37 passes for 184 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. Fellow true freshman Deuce Vaughn, KSU’s leading rusher and receiver coming into the game, had just 23 yards on 11 touches. Kansas State was held scoreless in the second half.
West Virginia kicker Evan Staley exited the game with an apparent injury in the first half. Backup Casey Legg kicked field goals of 25 and 45 yards and kicked four extra points.
Kansas State will return home to play Oklahoma State next week while WVU will travel to Austin, TX to play Texas.