MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — No. 16 Kansas State entered Saturday’s clash with West Virginia sitting atop the Big 12 Conference with a perfect league record. The Mountaineers turned that road trip into a Halloween nightmare.
A complete performance from head coach Neal Brown’s squad resulted in a rout of K-State, as the Mountaineers scored 24 unanswered points in the first half and finished the job in the second half, cruising to a 37-10 victory.
After losing at Texas Tech last week, WVU (4-2, 3-2) bounced back by thumping K-State (4-2, 4-1) with 485 yards of total offense. Its stellar defense was also resurrected, logging three interceptions against KSU freshman quarterback Will Howard, including one that was returned by redshirt senior linebacker Dylan Tonkery for a touchdown in the third quarter.
The Mountaineers also contained K-State on special teams for most of the game. The Wildcats returned two punts for scores in their previous outing vs. Kansas.
After K-State opened the scoring with a field goal, WVU rattled off four scores in a row to seize control of the contest. A 19-yard field goal by Evan Staley evened the scoring with 3:06 left in the first quarter, and then the Mountaineers pulled in front early in the second quarter with a five-yard touchdown pass from Jarret Doege to Ali Jennings.
West Virginia scored twice more before halftime. A nine-yard run by Leddie Brown made it 17-3 midway through the second period, and then Winston Wright scored on a Doege screen pass to bump the lead to 24-3.
The Wildcats managed a touchdown before the break, cutting West Virginia’s lead to 24-10.
But the Mountaineers picked up where they left off when the second half began. Casey Legg, who replaced Staley after West Virginia’s starting kicker left the game with an injury in the first half, nailed a 25-yard field goal to start the scoring in the second half.
Moments later, Tonkery returned his first interception for a score on a tipped screen pass to extend the advantage to 34-10.
Legg capped the scoring at 37-10 with a 45-yard field goal in the final period.
Along with Tonkery, defensive backs Nicktroy Fortune and Sean Mahone also intercepted passes thrown by Howard. K-State entered the game as the Big 12’s leader in interceptions, but was surpassed by WVU, which has now picked off nine balls this season.
Senior linebacker Tony Fields II also recorded a career-high 15 tackles in the win. West Virginia’s leader in tackles, who was disqualified from the Texas Tech game for targeting, has logged 10 or more stops in three contests this season.
WVU’s defense held K-State to 225 yards of total offense, including just 41 rushing yards. True freshman standout Deuce Vaughn was limited to 23 total yards on 11 touches.
Doege surpassed 300 yards for the third outing in a row. He completed 22 of his 34 attempts for 301 yards and two passing touchdowns.
Leddie Brown, West Virginia’s junior running back, eclipsed 100 yards rushing for the fourth time this season and sixth time in his career.
West Virginia was a perfect 5-5 in the red zone.
The Mountaineers are now 6-5 all-time against K-State and have won five consecutively in the series.