WVU defeats Kansas 56-34, earns first conference win

Patrick Kotnik, Staff Writer
WV Sports
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West Virginia earned its first Big 12 victory of the season and fourth straight win over Kansas with a 56-34 victory over the Jayhawks on the road.

The two teams combined for 1,199 total yards as the Mountaineers (3-1, 1-0) allowed a season-high 34 points.

Kansas (1-3, 0-1), who entered Saturday’s contest against West Virginia averaging just 109 rushing yards per game, racked up 367 total rushing yards in the loss.

Redshirt junior quarterback Will Grier finished 25-of-39 for 347 passing yards and two touchdowns along with an interception.

Senior running back Justin Crawford eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the fourth time this season, finishing the game with 125 rushing yards on 18 carries with one touchdown.

Kansas began the game on offense and wasted no time, taking an early 3-0 lead with a 13-play drive that consisted of 12 run plays and ended with a 28-yard field goal from Gabriel Rui at the 8:52 mark in the first quarter.

West Virginia’s offense got off to a slow start on its first drive but would respond with 28 unanswered points in the first half.

On its second offensive drive, West Virginia took its first lead of the game with a 7-yard touchdown run from sophomore running back Kennedy McKoy, who missed last week’s game due to a violation of team rules.

The Mountaineers would extend their lead on its next offensive possession thanks to a 7-play, 80-yard scoring drive that was capped off by Crawford’s 11-yard touchdown run, giving West Virginia a 14-3 lead with 13:14 left in the first half.

West Virginia’s offense would score two more first half touchdowns with a 23-yard touchdown run from McKoy and a 49-yard touchdown pass from Grier to junior wide receiver David Sills, extending its lead to 28-3 at the 5:17 mark in the second quarter.

The Jayhawks would cut West Virginia’s lead to 28-10 thanks to a 67-yard touchdown run from running back Khalil Herbert, but Tony Gibson’s defense responded with a touchdown of their own when senior cornerback Mike Daniels Jr. picked off a tipped screen pass and took it 25 yards to the house for his first career interception and touchdown.

A 41-yard field goal from Rui settled the score at 35-13 in favor of the Mountaineers heading into halftime.

Penalties hurt Kansas in the first half as two false start penalties on fourth down caused the Jayhawks to settle for a field goal on its first drive and punt on another.

After West Virginia punted on its first offensive possession in the second half, Kansas put together a 9-play, 89-yard drive that was capped off by a 5-yard touchdown run from Herbert to cut West Virginia’s lead to 35-20 at the 9:02 mark in the third quarter.

The Jayhawks would then make it 17 unanswered points with another scoring drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run from Taylor Martin which cut West Virginia's lead to 35-27.

In the fourth quarter, penalties would keep scoring drives for both teams alive. West Virginia and Kansas traded touchdowns as the Mountaineers led 42-34 at the 7:35 mark.

Two rushing touchdowns from Grier would seal the deal for West Virginia as the Mountaineers earned their first Big 12 win of the season.

West Virginia will take on TCU on the road following next week's bye.

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