Following a tough loss on the road against Texas Tech last week, the West Virginia Mountaineers were back home and ran away from the Kansas State Wildcats 37-10.
The game started like many of us expected it to, with the two teams exchanging field goals in the first quarter, which left the game tied at three after the first quarter. But the defensive slugfest that many of us anticipated didn’t come to fruition, at least not for Kansas State.
The Mountaineers offense turned it on in the second quarter and never looked back. WVU scored touchdowns on three-straight possessions to open up a dominant 24-3 lead and spark the eventual 37-10 win. Jarret Doege had touchdown passes to Ali Jennings and Winston Wright, with a Leddie Brown nine-yard touchdown run in between the two.
For a WVU team that was defined by its defense, it was the offense that finally exploded in a way it had not all season long. Jarret Doege had his most efficient game of the year, finishing 22/34 for 301 yards with two touchdown passes and zero interceptions. And Leddie Brown bounced back from a mediocre game against Texas Tech, racking up 102 yards on 24 carries with a score.
But of course, the WVU defense was not going to be overshadowed. Freshman QB Will Howard was confused all afternoon for the Wildcats and threw three interceptions (including a second half pick six, the only touchdown scored in the second half). The Mountaineers also bottled up true freshman star running back Deuce Vaughn, who was held to just 22 rushing yards on nine carries, with one receiving yard.
The Wildcats had entered the game in first place in the Big 12 at 4-0 with wins over Oklahoma, Texas Tech, TCU and Kansas. While they’ve been the surprise of the Big 12 season thus far, Saturday started a very tough stretch for K-State with this road game at WVU, home to No. 6 Oklahoma State followed by a road game at No. 23 Iowa State.
As good as this win is for the Mountaineers, they’ve still got to be kicking themselves for losing last week to Texas Tech. Without that loss, WVU is sitting at 4-1 in the Big 12 Conference and right in the thick of the Big 12 race moving forward.
But regardless, the Mountaineers still control their own destiny as they still have to play Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa State over the final four games of the season. But for WVU, there is no margin for error if they want to be a party crasher.
The defense can allow the Mountaineers to be a party crasher, as it remains one of the best in the country (ranked No. 4 in total defense to start the week), and if the offense can build off of its performance against Kansas State on Saturday, then Neal Brown’s team is going to be a tough out for any team on the schedule the rest of the way.
The Mountaineers hit the road next week to face the Texas Longhorns, while Kansas State heads home to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
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