It wasn’t the prettiest football game, but it might be exactly what Kansas State needs to get its season back on track.
The Wildcats shrugged off a sluggish first half to beat West Virginia 35-12 on Saturday at Snyder Family Stadium, and walked off the field with smiles on their faces for the first time in a month.
K-State (3-4, 1-3 Big 12) ended a three-game losing streak and claimed its first victory since Sept. 14. It did so by playing strong defense throughout and coming alive on offense behind quarterback Jake Waters in the second half.
Waters, who continued to split snaps with sophomore quarterback Daniel Sams, completed 10 of 13 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns. His first touchdown strike came in the first quarter on a 35-yard throw to Tyler Lockett, but K-State couldn’t muster much else in the first half and went into the locker room trailing West Virginia (3-5, 1-4) in a low-scoring affair 9-7.
Sams also had a nice game throwing the ball, completing all eight of his attempts for 93 yards and a score.
The second half didn’t start much better for either offense. The Mountaineers added a field goal to go up 12-7 early in the third quarter, but Sams responded with a touchdown pass to Lockett in the back of the end zone that gave K-State a 14-12 lead.
Then Waters broke the game open by leading K-State on two impressive scoring drives. On the first, he came off the bench and found Tramaine Thompson for a 30-yard touchdown with 11:11 remaining in the fourth quarter. On the second, he once again hit Lockett for a 24-yard touchdown that clinched the game.
Waters hasn’t played well in recent games, but he has been without Thompson and Lockett, K-State’s top two receivers. It was obvious how much K-State missed them when they returned on Saturday.
Lockett caught eight passes for 111 yards and three touchdowns. Thompson made three grabs for 53 yards and a score. Curry Sexton also caught six passes for 112 yards.
With running back John Hubert gaining 86 yards and a touchdown on the ground, K-State had a balanced look on offense.
The victory gives K-State much-needed momentum heading into its next game against Iowa State.