MORGANTOWN, W.Va.— Aiming to stay in the Big 12 race, No. 20 West Virginia dispatched Kansas 48-21 on Saturday night.
A recap of the live updates:
— West Virginia (7-1, 4-1) put up 605 yards while Kansas (1-8, 0-6) finished with 441.
— Justin Crawford and Kennedy McKoy each topped 100 yards rushing and Shelton Gibson and Daikiel Shorts each surpassed 100 yards receiving.
— With Baylor getting blasted in Waco earlier today, WVU and Oklahoma State are the only one-loss league teams behind Oklahoma.
— With defensive second-teamers subbing up front, starter Rasul Douglas stopped a Kansas scoring threat with his second interception of the night.
FIELD GOAL: Mike Molina 39-yarder (9:53) WVU leads 48-21: Molina made amends for his earlier miss after Kansas cornerback Marnez Ogletree’s exceptional breakup on a potential Howard-to-Gibson touchdown. Crawford was slow to rise after a 7-yard pickup, as injuries remain an issue for WVU’s backfield.
TOUCHDOWN: Carter Stanley 11-yard pass Steven Sims (11:46) WVU leads 45-21: Sims not only made the payday catch over Elijah Battle, he also threw a 40-yarder to fullback Michael Zunica on a gadget play. (When you’re Kansas, no use saving them for bowl game, amiright?) The redshirt freshman Stanley improved to 5-of-6 for 92 yards in relief.
— West Virginia’s opportunity to tack on points ended when Molina pushed a 27-yard kick wide right. Kennedy McKoy went over 100 yards on the drive, however.
TOUCHDOWN: Cozart 45-yard pass to Taylor Martin (3:02) WVU leads 45-14: Tony Gibson will find a teaching moment on that series after a defensive bust allowed Martin to run free after a check-down pass. Two plays previously, Kyzir White’s pass interference penalty extended the drive.
TOUCHDOWN: Howard 32-yard pass to Shelton Gibson (5:44) WVU leads 45-7: Howard was 4-of-4 on the drive for 76 yards, helping West Virginia overcome a 9-yard loss by Durante on an end-around. The touchdown showed improvisational pizzazz, with Howard scrambling right and spotting Gibson blazing across the field.
— The good news for Kansas: Cozart beat a blitz by hitting Shakiem Barbel for 42 yards with Jarrod Harper in trail position. The bad news for Kansas: A 43-yard field goal never got off as Cole Moos fumbled the snap.
TOUCHDOWN: Justin Crawford 27-yard run (9:41) WVU leads 38-7: Countering quickly, West Virginia took over after an out-of-bounds kick and moved 65 yards in four plays. Crawford had a 25-yard run and then climbed over 100 on the score. Shorts caught a 13-yard sideline pass in between.
— TURNOVER: Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong wrecked a zone-read keeper and popped Howard to create a fumble. KU took over at the Mountaineers 29.
— Kansas opened the second half by punting for the sixth time in eight series
— Would be surprised if the Mountaineers offensive starters play more than a series in the second half.
— WVU outgained Kansas 371-135 and 8.6 to 4.0 per play.
— Skyler Howard 9-of-16 for 140 yards, which includes a deep drop by Ka’Raun White.
— Kennedy McKoy has 92 yards on 10 carries, followed by Howard and Justin Crawford with 57 each.
TOUCHDOWN: Howard 19-yard pass to Shelton Gibson (0:52) WVU leads 31-0: Blessed with a short field, West Virginia strikes quickly from the 44. Howard made throws of 21 yards to Shorts and 17 to White before hitting Gibson in the back of the end zone.
— Kansas punts after a three-and-out. Consecutive road loss No. 40 seems imminent.
TOUCHDOWN: Howard 7-yard pass to Daikiel Shorts (3:04) WVU leads 24-0: On a 72-yard march, Justin Crawford did the heavy lifting with 56 yards on five carries. After KU’s Marnez Ogletree was popped for pass interference on Gibson in the end zone, WVU was popped for 12 men in the huddle. That gave Shorts more room to maneuver against Shaquille Richmond, and Howard’s pass was on the money.
— KU avoided another three-and-out when Cozart lobbed a gorgeous 32-yard pass that Steven Sims caught behind Maurice Fleming. On fourth-and-2 at the WVU 29, Cozart was stopped inches short by Al-Rasheed Benton.
TOUCHDOWN: Howard 33-yard run (8:27) WVU leads 17-0: Howard went 3-for-3 passing for 29 yards on the series leading to another well-blocked keeper. Unlike his first touchdown, Howard actually encountered some defenders in the secondary, and weaved through them. He took over the team lead with his sixth rushing touchdown.
— Kansas took over at its 2 and punted three plays later, which in Jayhawk parlance translates to WINNING!
— Primed with first-and-goal at the Kansas 1, the Mountaineers somehow failed to score. (Incomplete fade pass to Shorts. McKoy stuffed at goal line. Howard failed on keeper. McKoy dropped for 1-yard loss by Shaquille Richmond on fourth down.) Getting to the 1 was a fun ride, however, as Shelton Gibson took a reverse 25 yards and Howard went airborne at the end of a 15-yard ramble.
— Kansas picked up a first down on Benton’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for jawing with KU lineman Jayson Rhodes. Then Steven Sims had room to convert a third-and-8 catch but fell down untouched shy of the marker. Punt team activate!
TOUCHDOWN: Howard 22-yard run (2:20) WVU leads 10-0: The five-play, 77-yard drive opened with a burst of 44 by McKoy before Howard to a third-and-2 QB draw to the house. Credit Kyle Bosch with a pancake block at the line of scrimmage.
— Kansas should’ve had a first down at midfield but Cozart dove 2 yards early. The Jayhawks lined up to go for it on fourth down only to have Cozart pooch punt it to the 23. WVU’s ninth-in-the-league punt return average clearly had Kansas rattled.
— After Gary Jennings lost 6 yards on Cole Moos’ 49-yard punt, WVU gained only one yard on a three-and-out. After incompletions to White and Durante, it was receivers coach Tyron Carrier’s turn to flip out on the sideline.
— Kansas started from its 15 and went three-and-out.
— West Virginia’s second drive began with a pass interference on KU cornerback Brandon Stewart against Ka’Raun White. Then the series fell apart. Justin Crawford went the wrong way, leaving Howard to ball-fake to nobody on a 5-yard loss. Isaiah Bean slung him down for an 8-yard sack on third down. Holgorsen was punching-the-air animated as the offense returned to the sideline.
— Kansas crossed midfield. Then came flags for holding and false start and an underthrown interception by Cozart to Rasul Douglas. The Jayhawks have run that turnover play a lot this year.
FIELD GOAL: Molina 35-yarder (13:19) WVU leads 3-0: The Jayhawks were assessed a taunting penalty on the opening touchback, proving they won’t let a little thing like 39 consecutive road losses humble them. After Shelton Gibson tight-roped the sideline for a 40-yard catch to the KU 18, West Virginia stalled out cold. On third-and-10, linebacker Keith Loneker blitzed untouched up the middle and hurried Howard into an incompletion.
— On MetroNews “GameDay” pregame show just now ex-assistant Steve Dunlap said: “Skyler Howard’s not going to run the ball at all, unless he absolutely has to, because West Virginia doesn’t have another quarterback.”
— More from Dunlap: “We need to c
— No Rushel Shell tonight in the WVU backfield. That sprained ankle is still lingering from last week’s loss. No other depth-chart changes being reported.
— Conventional wisdom says Kansas can’t win today without a major assist from West Virginia, so all week came questions of readiness. The only comparable occasion this season was Youngstown State in Week 2, when the Mountaineers underperformed.
“You’ve got to prepare the same way. If not, that’s when you get caught in these types of games,” said Skyler Howard. “Same thing with Youngstown State. People thought, obviously, ‘OK we’ve got Youngstown State, so we don’t have to do the little things.’ And that’s not the truth. You do have to do the little things.”
— Kansas has split the quarterbacking duties between Ryan Willis and Montell Cozart, but coach David Beaty says he’s all-in on Cozart now. “Oh, absolutely he’s our guy.”
Cozart orchestrated that upset win over WVU in 2013, if you can call 6-of-12 passing for 61 yards an orchestration. He’s a redshirt junior completing 60 percent of his passes but with more interceptions (eight) than touchdowns (seven). Willis also owns a 60-percent completion rate but with seven INTs and three touchdowns. Thus, Kansas ranks 127th out of 128 FBS teams in team passing efficiency.
— Here’s my Four-Down Territory preview from Friday. It highlights Shelton Gibson’s diminished production over a three-game stretch and the Jayhawks’ 1-46 record post-September since 2011.
— Here’s the Friday Gold & Blue Lunch with staff picks and our question of the week: What’s your sports figure write-in candidate for president?
Our MetroNews staff final-score picks in the event you can’t spare