Manhattan, Kan. (westernkansasnews.com)–Four games ago, Kansas State was looking at a 3-3 record at the midway point of the season. Since the second half of the Texas Tech where they rallied for a win, the Wildcats have been playing with confidence. And that confidence continued at home on Saturday, as they took care of the West Virginia Mountaineers 34-17 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Kansas State got their first score by taking advantage of a Russ Yeast interception on the second play of the game. Joe Ervin would find the end zone on a two-yard run with 10:50 left in the first quarter to go up 7-0 with the Chris Tennant PAT. Later in the opening period, “Special Teams U” would show up, as Ty Bowman would block the punt inside the Mountaineer five yard line, and Marvin Martin scooped up the blocked punt and take it seven yards for the score to go up 14-0 with the Tennant kick.
Both teams traded field goals in the second quarter, as Chris Tennant knocked in a 32-yard field goal with 2:57 left in the half to give K-State the 17-0 lead. The Mountaineers rallied to get on the board late in the first half with a 39-yard field goal by Casey Legg to make it 17-3 at the break.
Kansas State took the opening drive of the second half and added to their lead. An eight-play, 33-yard drive was capped off by a three-yard touchdown pass from Skylar Thompson to Sammy Wheeler to make it 24-3 Cats with 10:17 left in the third quarter. The Mountaineers struck back with a 13-yard pass from Jarret Doege to Reese Smith to pull them to within 24-10 with 6:02 left in the third quarter.
West Virginia would make things interesting, pulling to within 24-17 with 11:50 left in the game. Following a missed Wildcat field goal. Doege found Winston Wright from three yards out on fourth and goal to get them to within one score. Kansas State would settle down and score the games final 10 points. Deuce Vaughn scored from four yards out with 7:22 left to give the Cats a 31-17 lead. The score was set up by a fourth down pass play from Thompson to Wheeler on the previous play. Chris Tennant’s 25-yard field goal with 1:59 left capped off the scoring after a Mountaineer turnover.
West Virginia would outgain Kansas State 345-299, but the Wildcats would win the time of possession 33:28 to 26:32, and won the turnover battle 3-0.
Skylar Thompson was 14-19 passing for 138 yards with a touchdown. Phillip Brooks had five receptions for 62 yards to lead the team, and Deuce Vaugh rushed for 121 yards on 25 carries with a touchdown. The Wildcats rushed for 161 yards.
Jarret Doege was 27-45 passing for 268 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Bryce Ford-Wheaton had five catches for 67 yards and Leddie Brown led the Mountaineers on the ground with 85 yards on 20 carries. They rushed for 77 yards.
With the win, Kansas State snapped a five-game losing streak, and is now 7-3 overall, 4-3 in Big 12 play. They are now in fourth place in the Big 12 standings. West Virginia dropped to 4-6 overall, 2-5 in conference play. K-State will host Baylor at 4:30 pm Saturday for senior day, while West Virginia plays host to Texas Saturday at 11 am central time.
Coach Chris Kleiman
Quarterback Skylar Thompson
Running Back Deuce Vaughn
Tight End Sammy Wheeler
Center Noah Johnson
Defensive Tackle Eli Huggins
Defensive Back Russ Yeast