The Mountaineers (3-5, 1-4 Big 12 Conference) fell 35-12 to Kansas State (3-4, 2-3) after an inspired second-half performance by the Wildcats. WVU has now lost its last three games.
After stalling the Kansas State offense for a half, the Mountaineers’ defense allowed the Wildcats to convert on a majority of its third downs in the second half, which were key to two decisive scoring drives that allowed them to take a lead back.
After leading 12-7, the Mountaineers were outscored 28-0 in the final 25 minutes in a similar performance to last week when it couldn’t finish out a potential upset of unranked Texas Tech.
Quarterback Clint Trickett, starting his fourth straight game, was 15-of-28 for 227 yards. Backup Paul Millard came into the game in the middle of the fourth quarter when the game was out of reach. He was 4-of-14 for 37 yards and an interception to end the game.
Running back Charles Sims was once again the Mountaineers’ most consistent skill player. He had 97 yards receiving and rushing.
Kansas State’s quarterback duo of Daniel Sams and Jake Waters was aided by a big day from receiver Tyler Lockett, who had eight catches for 111 yards and three touchdowns. He had one touchdown catch coming into the game.
In total, WVU had 367 total yards of offense. Kansas State had 448 total yards – many of those coming in the second half.
WVU safety Karl Joseph made a big play on Kansas State’s first possession, as he forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Isaiah Bruce at the WVU 16-yard line. The Mountaineers’ offense would gain a first down but be forced to punt.
Kansas State took a 7-0 lead near the end of the first quarter on a deep pass from Waters to Lockett for 35 yards.
WVU’s defense would stay strong, however, and the Mountaineer offense was able to score a touchdown on a scramble by Trickett for six yards. The extra point by kicker Josh Lambert was blocked to make it 7-6 KSU.
On the next West Virginia drive, Trickett found receiver Ronald Carswell for 50 yards inside the Kansas State red zone. The Mountaineers would kick a field goal from 21 yards out by Lambert to take a 9-7 lead.
WVU had an opportunity to score late in the first half, but a fake field goal didn’t gain enough for a first down. The Mountaineers headed into the locker room up by two.
After WVU’s defense forced another punt, the Mountaineers gave the ball back to the Wildcats with good field position. Trickett’s arm was hit by linebacker Ryan Mueller to force the fumble. The ball was recovered at the WVU 18-yard line.
Kansas State turned it right back over to the Mountaineers, as Sams fumbled following a strip by linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski. The ball was recovered in the end zone by Joseph.
A play later, Trickett found receiver Kevin White on a screen for 43 yards. Kicker Josh Lambert would boom a 50-yard kick to extend the Mountaineers’ lead to 12-7.
Kansas State would regain the lead on its next drive, though, as Sams converted two third-and-longs before finding an open Lockett in the back of the end zone to take a 14-12 lead late in the third quarter.
After completing two more third-and-longs on its next drive, Waters found receiver Traimaine Thompson in man-to-man coverage and scored another touchdown to put the Mountaineers down 21-12 and in near desperation mode.
On the next drive for WVU, Trickett took off on a third-and-five, but after picking up the first down was hit by KSU’s Ty Zimmerman. The ball popped out due to the hit, and the Wildcats recovered it.
Waters hooked up with Lockett to seal the victory for Kansas State. It was a 24-yard touchdown pass to take a 28-12 lead with more than seven minutes to play.
Running back John Hubert capped off the win with a four-yard touchdown run for Kansas State.
WVU’s defense was led by Joseph, who had 12 tackles. Kwiatkoski had 11 tackles.