EditorsNote: Resending per client’s request
Sloppy early, West Virginia wins at Kansas State
West Virginia overcame a sluggish start and four first-half turnovers to claim a 28-23 victory over Kansas State on a cool, rainy Saturday afternoon at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan.
Quarterback Will Grier completed 27 of 46 passes for 372 yards and four touchdowns for West Virginia (7-3, 5-2 Big 12). It was the first game in the last four that Kansas State (5-5, 3-4 Big 12) has not allowed more than 400 yards passing.
Skylar Thompson, making his first career start, was 13 of 26 for 159 yards for Kansas State.
The Mountaineers got a gift touchdown at the end of the first half, then neither team could mount much offense in the second half. Following a turnover with 10 seconds left on the Kansas State 30, Grier ran around the backfield before heaving the ball to Ka’Raun White in the end zone with zeros on the clock, giving WVU a 28-20 halftime lead.
The Wildcats squandered several good opportunities early.
D.J. Reed forced the first of two turnovers with a forced fumble and recovery after a completed pass to David Sills. But the Wildcats only gained four yards and had to punt. The Mountaineers’ first four drives ended with the two turnovers and two three-and-outs. But the Wildcats couldn’t capitalize on three drives starting in West Virginia territory, as neither team gained a first down until the ninth drive of the game.
Kansas State’s first points were set up when Reed picked off Grier at the 28 and returned it to the 3-yard line. The Wildcats lost a yard on three plays and settled for a 21-yard field goal by Matthew McCrane.
McCrane’s second field goal of the game, a 43-yarder later in the first quarter, was the 55th of his career, passing Martin Gramatica and setting a school record.
West Virginia finally got a first down — on a 75-yard touchdown pass from Grier to White — on the first play of the ensuing drive.
The floodgates then opened, as Grier hit Sills on a crossing pattern for a 16-yard score to extend the lead to 14-6. Kansas State responded with a five-play, 63-yard drive. Dalvin Warmack gained 43 yards on the ground on the drive, and Winston Dimel punched it in from the 1-yard line.
K-State forced a third turnover on West Virginia’s next drive, but another K-State three-and-out gave the ball back to WVU. The Mountaineers marched 80 yards on 10 plays, capped by a 4-yard touchdown pass to Sills on a nifty catch in the corner of the end zone for a 21-13 lead.
Dimel’s 2-yard touchdown with 1:33 left in the half capped a 93-yard drive and cut the lead to 21-20. But the touchdown pass to White on the final play of the half allowed the Mountaineers to take an 8-point lead into the locker room.