West Virginia’s (0-1) second opponent of the season, Kansas (1-0), has won their season opener against FCS opponent Tennessee Tech.
It’s the second year in a row they’ve won their season opener, although this one was much more significant than the other. Last year they needed to come from behind to beat FCS team South Dakota 17-14. They then lost eight of their last nine, including a 34-28 loss to West Virginia, with the lone win coming in overtime against Texas, 57-56.
While a 56-10 win is certainly significant, it came against an insignificant team in FCS Tennessee Tech. There’s obviously a major difference between a FBS power five team and a FCS team. Not to mention Tennessee Tech struggled last year in the FCS, going 3-8 overall.
There is so excitement surrounding this Kansas team though from their fanbase. Head coach Lance Leopid is entering only his second season but signed a one-year contract extension earlier this week. Yesterday’s game for the program featured the largest crowd (34,902) the program has had for a season opener in eight years.
In the win, they quarterback Jalon Daniels completed 15 passes out of 18 attempts for 189 yards while throwing a touchdown and an interception. The team was without wide receivers Trevor Wilson and Tanaka Scott due to suspension, therefore Lawrence Arnold led the team in catches (four) and receiving yards (56). Wilson is expected to miss the West Virginia game as well while Scott will return this week.
Rushing is where the team was really strong as they ran for 297 yards and six touchdowns. This will be a key battle for the West Virginia defense who is coming off a loss to Pittsburgh in which they only allowed an average of two yards per carry.
Defensively they held Tennessee Tech to under 200 yards of offense (190). Linebacker Eric Gilyard had an interception while defensive end Lonnie Phelps had three sacks in the victory and led the team in tackles with six.
West Virginia will face off against Kansas in their home and conference opener next Saturday at 6:00 p.m. West Virginia will be without cornerback Wesley McCormick for the first half after he was called for targeting against Pittsburgh.