K-State Holds Off Mountaineers

| November 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

By Erik Stone

Jake Waters completed 22 passes for 400 yards and a touchdown while Tyler Lockett continued to etch his name in the Kansas State record books with another productive night offensively and a key special teams touchdown as the 12th-ranked Wildcats held off a late charge to hang on for a 26-20 win over West Virginia before 47,683 on a bone chilling Thursday night at Milan Puskar Stadium at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown.

The Wildcats drove 49 yards on eight plays for their first score of the night, a seven-yard touchdown pass from Waters to Running Back DeMarcus Robinson for a 7-0 lead. Early in the second quarter West Virginia looked like it was going in for the tying score but a mishandled exchange on a handoff allowed K-State to recover the fumble. The Wildcats then traveled 65 yards in eight plays and took a 10-0 lead on a 36-yard Field Goal by Matthew McCrane.

After the Mountaineers responded with a Field Goal of their own, the game nearly took a drastic turn for K-State when Lockett uncharacteristically fumbled the ensuing kickoff giving West Virginia excellent field position. Then it appeared they were going to tie the game when Wide Receiver Kevin White made an incredible catch after K-State Cornerback Dante Barnett couldn’t hang on to an interception and when the ball popped up into the air, White caught it and went into the end zone for an apparent touchdown. However, upon further video review, the ball touched the ground when Barnett had it and the pass was ruled incomplete and then West Virginia kicker Josh, Lambert, one of the best in the nation badly missed a Field Goal attempt wide right allowing K-State to dodge a bullet.

After West Virginia’s next possession ended deep in their own territory, a short punt was fielded by Lockett who rumbled 43 yards for the touchdown giving the Wildcats a two-score lead. It appeared K-State would widen the lead just before halftime when Randall Evans intercepted Mountaineer Quarterback Clint Trickett but was tackled after a 21-yard return. The Wildcats settled for the 17-3 advantage when McCrane’s Field Goal attempt at the end of the half was blocked.

K-State then put together another scoring drive on their second possession of the third quarter which ended in a 44-yard McCrane Field Goal for a 20-3 lead. After Trickett left the game with an apparent injury, backup Quarterback Skyler Howard led West Virginia on its first touchdown drive of the night culminating with a seven-yard scoring pass to White cutting the Wildcat lead to 20-10. After going three and out on its next possession, K-State caught a break when the Mountaineer kick returner had Nick Walsh’s punt hit his foot and K-State recovered deep in West Virginia territory. However the Cats couldn’t move the ball on the ground and McCrane’s 19-yard Field Goal made the score 23-10 after three quarters.

A rare defensive breakdown allowed WVU to pull closer in the fourth quarter after McCrane missed a Field goal as Howard connected with Mario Alford for a 53-yard touchdown pass cutting the Kansas State advantage to 23-17 with 7:23 left in the fourth quarter. However on the next Wildcat possession, a huge third down conversion on a pass from Waters to Lockett was key and it eventually set up a 32-yard Field Goal by McCrane, his fourth of the night to make the score 26-17 with 2:52 to play. Still the Mountaineers would not go quietly and they drove inside the K-State 10-yard line in the game’s final 90 seconds. However they would have to settle for a Field Goal thanks to a key sack by Ryan Mueller of Howard and the score was 26-20 with 53 seconds left. West Virginia attempted an onsides kick but Fullback Glenn Gronkowski recovered it and the Wildcats were able to run out the clock even though the game ended on a Waters interception, which fortunately for K-State didn’t matter as Ricky Rumph’s momentum took him out of bounds as the clock ran out and the Wildcats had secured perhaps their ugliest win of the season.

K-State’s running game continued its slump with its worst output of the season of just one yard, a total they reached late in the game after spending most of the evening in minus territory. Lockett, who is now just four catches behind his father Kevin for the school record ended up with 10 receptions for 196 yards. Curry Sexton caught five balls for 76 yards and Tight End Zach Trujillo hauled in two passes for 67 yards.

Despite the paltry rushing total, K-State’s Offensive Line did not give up a sack and the Defense ended up forcing four West Virginia turnovers. McCrane tied Jack Cantele for second-most Field Goals made in a game with four as Cantele had the same total last season against TCU and also tied a school record for most Field Goals attempted in a game as Martin Gramatica had the same total against Kansas in 1998.

Kansas State (8-2, 6-1) will return home for Senior Day on November 29 for the Sunflower Showdown against KU. It will mark the final home game for Lockett, Mueller and Waters among others and before the game there will be a groundbreaking ceremony for the new North Stadium Complex. Kickoff on November 29 is set for 3 p.m.

 

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Category: Postgame Wrap up

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