Kansas football showed some signs of life, particularly on defense, last weekend, but it was not the case on Saturday.
From the beginning West Virginia’s offense dominated with the rushing attack and never looked back, winning 49-0 at Memorial Stadium.
After the game Kansas coach David Beaty took responsibility for the unimpressive effort and execution from his players and coaches. He now knows that the rivalry game against Kansas State next week will be the last chance to avoid the first winless season since 1954.
“That was a disappointing performance by us and we can’t let that one happen again,” he said. “We’ve got a great opportunity next week. A big rivalry game coming in, but man, that doesn’t make the week anymore easier to deal with at this point.”
The Mountaineers used its three formidable rushers to set the tempo of the game early. During the game, the Mountaineers’ offensive line pushed through the KU defensive front. This created wide open holes inside and outside the tackles for West Virginia to run free with its variety of options behind center.
The key to the success for the visitors was quarterback Skyler Howard, who facilitated the run option attack, which gave his teammates a tremendous amount of choices. Howard ended the game with 262 total yards and two touchdowns. Howard was pulled midway through the third quarter because of the 49-0 lead for the Mountaineers.
Rushel Shell scored two touchdowns with 109 yards on the ground. Wendell Smallwood, the other dynamic running back for the Mountaineers, put up 115 rushing yards and two touchdowns. That left three rushers with more than 100 yards for West Virginia, while Kansas mustered 94 yards a team.
“On the defense we’re suppose to be the firefighters,” linebacker Joe Dineen said of getting down early. “We have to put out the momentum and we didn’t do that today.”
Dineen had an impressive effort with 16 tackles, but the inability to stop the run hurt the whole defensive unit.
“They ran their plays to a tee, credit to them,” Dineen said of West Virginia offense.
And Kansas did not have much of a response on offense either. Freshman quarterback Ryan Willis and the offense had seven straight three-and-outs at one point and could not convert a first down without penalty until midway through the third quarter.
“For whatever reason he didn’t have it today,” Beaty said of Willis. “He a couple of flashes of good things, but he didn’t play his game, but he’ll come back. They’ll be ready to go this week.”
The offense only racked up 221 yards of total offense compared to the 630 for West Virginia.
Along with KU’s passing inefficiency and a poor running attack, Beaty mentioned the drops by several of the wide receivers.
“We got to eliminate those things to have a chance to play good offensive football and we haven’t done that yet,” Beaty said.
Now the whole season comes down to the Sunflower Showdown. At 0-11 Kansas will have to beat Kansas State to take any momentum into the offseason.
WEST VIRGINIA 49, KANSAS 0
TableStyle: SP-byperiodsCCI Template: SP-byperiods
WVU: Shell 8 run (Lambert kick), 11:34.
WVU: Chestnut 32 interception return (Lambert kick), 11:15.
WVU: Shell 26 run (Lambert kick), 7:33.
WVU: Smallwood 24 run (Lambert kick), 3:26.
WVU: Clay 2 pass from S.Howard (Lambert kick), 10:05.
WVU: S.Howard 9 run (Lambert kick), 5:37.
WVU: Smallwood 1 run (Lambert kick), 10:04.
TableStyle: SP-footballstatsCCI Template: SP-footballstats
Time of Possession
RUSHING: West Virginia, S.Howard 9-129, Smallwood 18-115, Shell 14-108, Crest Jr. 5-56, Wellman 5-13, Marcellus 4-5. Kansas, Mann 4-49, Cox 10-24, Kinner 4-12, Bates IV 3-8, Schadler 3-8, P.Randall 1-3, Willis 4-(minus 10).
PASSING: West Virginia, S.Howard 13-22-1-133, Crest Jr. 3-10-1-71. Kansas, Willis 13-38-3-127.
RECEIVING: West Virginia, Thompson 6-68, Shorts Jr. 3-36, Rogers 2-51, Jennings 1-20, Smallwood 1-14, Gibson 1-9, Shell 1-4, Clay 1-2. Kansas, Parmalee 5-64, Kinner 3-12, Booker 2-17, Taylor 1-27, Patrick 1-5, Sims 1-2.