MORGANTOWN, W.Va – On a day that’s supposed to be a joyous occasion for any program, West Virginia endured anything but joy on this Saturday afternoon.
Soon after hearing cornerback Charles Woods would be entering the transfer portal and Kaden Prather’s absence could mean he is leaving too, the Mountaineers took the field with quarterback Garrett Greene making his first career college start. The minimal crowd were instantly quieted by Kansas State. Wildcats running back Deuce Vaughn capped off KSU’s opening possession with an easy outside sweep into the end zone. It was then Greene’s first time out as a starter, but that fanfare calmed after one of his passes was picked off and ran back for a 37-yard return and a defensive touchdown by Kansas State.
With the score 14-0, the pressure was now on WVU to even keep this game interesting. Greene and the Mountaineers would respond though thanks to the ensuring drive ending with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Greene to wide receiver Sam James.
WVU made it it a ball game when defensive back Malachi Ruffin picked off KSU quarterback Will Howard and ran it back 43 yards for the score. Casey Legg lost his perfect season by missing the extra point or the game would’ve been tied. The back and forth offensive explosion of a first quarter continued with back-to-back Kansas State touchdowns. JD Giddens’ ran 49 yards and then Howard kept the ball on the next possession for one yard. The score was then 28-13 until Greene aired it out to James for a 71-yard bomb over the top of two defenders. Another Legg extra point miss moved the game into the second quarter with the score 28-19.
It started becoming apparent that the WVU defense was not going to be able to allow the Mountaineers to hang in the game. Howard found Ben Sinnot in the end zone for another quick touchdown for the Wildcats.
James kept being relied on by Greene, catching his third touchdown of the half later in the second quarter. The two-point conversion attempt keeper by Greene failed, making the score 35-25, a 10-point deficit for West Virginia.
Tack on 46-yard and 53-yard field goals in the final minutes of the half, as Kansas State stalled in the red zone and then ran out of time on their last possession. KSU took a 41-25 lead into the locker room at half time.
The second half began with much less scoring, but a lot more controversy. After WVU felt as if a pass interference in the end zone was missed and then a that a hard tackle should have beeb roughing the passer, Greene got in the defense’s face, triggering a penalty against West Virginia. The bad luck unraveled for WVU when Legg missed his first field goal of the season.
In a shift from most of the game, the fourth quarter started with neither team having scored in the second half at all. That soon changed with Howard’s second touchdown pass and third overall followed by WVU getting on the board thanks to a Greene run. The score then shifted 48-31.
But the comeback effort fell quite short. The loss dropped West Virginia to 4-7, eliminating the Mountaineers from bowl eligibility. Kansas State earned their 8th win of the season in the process.
WVU and Neal Brown now have one more game left in this season that’s been mostly excruciating for everyone involved.