LAWRENCE, Kan. — An unseasonably hot day awaited West Virginia as it downed Kansas 56-34 in their Big 12 opener at Memorial Stadium.
Recapping the live updates throughout the game:
— West Virginia outgained the Jayhawks 635-564.
— Will Grier finished 25-of-39 passing for 347 yards and four total touchdowns (two passing and two running)
— Justin Crawford ran for 125 yards on 18 carries, while Kennedy McKoy gained 105 on 12 attempts.
— Kansas running back Khalil Herbert gashed the Mountaineers for 291 yards on 36 carries, the most gained by an FBS back this season.
— WVU failed on fourth-and-goal from the 1.
— TURNOVER: Al-Rasheed Benton caught a tipped interception and returned it 38 yards to the Jayhawks 8.
TOUCHDOWN: Grier 3-yard run (4:42) WVU leads 56-34
West Virginia capitalized quickly with McKoy ripping off a 28-yard run. Grier bobbled the ensuing read-option keeper but regained control as he dove across the goal line. (Drive: 2 plays, 31 yards in 0:27)
— TURNOVER: On what looked to be an incomplete pass, Lamonte McDougle belted Bender from behind and Wes Tonkery recovered almost 15 yards upfield. The replay booth overturned the incomplete call and ruled it a fumble.
TOUCHDOWN: Grier 3-yard run (5:16) WVU leads 49-34
West Virginia’s offense may have delivered the dagger. Grier found Simms for 24 over the middle and hit Jennings for 30 more, a play on which Mike Lee’s targeting foul was overturned. (Drive: 6 plays, 72 yards in 2:12)
TOUCHDOWN: Steven Sims 7-yard pass from Bender (7:35) WVU leads 42-34
The crowd quit at halftime but Kansas didn’t. Bender found tight end Ben Johnson for 23 yards on third down and then completed a fourth-and-4 pass to Jeremiah Booker. That set up the slant pass to Sims for the score. (Drive: 12 plays, 75 yards in 3:27)
TOUCHDOWN: Sills 7-yard pass from Grier (11:02) WVU leads 42-27
Grier converted a third-and-8 by hitting Simms for 25 and a QB scramble netted another 24. When the drive bogged down at the Kansas 12 and Mike Molina came on for a 29-yard kick, Kansas defensive end Dorance Armstrong jumped offsides. WVU took the three points off the board, a move that paid off two plays later. (Drive: 11 plays, 86 yards in 2:55)
— Kansas had the ball in a one-score game, when Steven Sims caught a third-and-5 pass at the sticks annnnnnnd was hit out of bounds by Elijah Battle. That moved the ball out to the Jayhawks’ 41 where an illegal lineman downfield flag stopped the momentum.
— With West Virginia’s offense needing to pick things up, Jennings made a 19-yard catch. Then an illegal block personal foul on Colton McKivitz created a second-and-23 situation from which WVU could not escape. A fourth consecutive scoreless drive to start the second half.
TOUCHDOWN: Taylor Martin 1-yard run (3:22) WVU leads 35-27
Daniels returned for one play and yielded a 64-yard pass to Steven Sims. After a lengthy injury timeout to deal with Daniels left knee again, the Jayhawks punched in the score on third down. (Drive: 4 plays, 67 yards in 1:25)
— Pinned at its 11, WVU got a 13-yard run from Crawford for his fourth consecutive 100-yard game. But after two incompletions, the Mountaineers punted from their 26.
— Kansas appeared poised to capitalize on the interception but a holding penalty negated a big chunk of Dom Williams’ 30-yard run. The Jayhawks punted from the Mountaineers’ 43 after Bender’s sideline throw sailed over the head of 6-foot-4 Chase Harrell, guarded tightly by Battle. (Battle was in because Daniels went out with a left leg injury on the series.)
— TURNOVER: Kansas cornerback Hasan Defense wrestled away Grier’s deep throw intended for Ka’Raun White. Jayhawks ball at their 30.
TOUCHDOWN: Khalil Herbert 5-yard run (9:02) WVU leads 35-20
After converting two third-down tries, the Jayhawks zipped into the red zone thanks to Herbert’s 60-yard scamper. From a hurry-up formation, Herbert took a quick toss and outran the defense to the pylon. (Drive: 9 plays, 89 yards in 3:34)
— On WVU’s opening drive of the third quarter, Grier and Sills teamed up for a 7-yard pop pass on third-and-2. Facing the same situation three plays later, Grier missed an open flip pass as they both rolled left.
— West Virginia outgained Kansas 357-274. (The Jayhawks have already surpassed their season-high with 224 on the ground.)
— Grier 13-of-19 passing for 193 yards and 1 TD, with two drops.
— Crawford has 89 yards on 13 carries. McKoy with 58 yards on four attempts.
— KU’s Khalil Herbert had a monster half with 19 carries for 191 yards
FIELD GOAL: Gabriel Rui from 41 yards (0:00) WVU leads 35-13
Kansas answered before the half, starting with Herbert’s 25-yard run. Bender then hit Booker for 19 yards before a spike set up the field-goal unit. (Drive: 5 plays, 49 yards in 0:30)
TOUCHDOWN: Mike Daniels 25-yard interception return (0:36) WVU leads 35-10
Peyton Bender threw too high for Sims in the flat, and Daniels grabbed the tipped pass for a pick-six. (Drive: 0 plays, 0 yards in 0:00)
— WVU punted from midfield after DeAnte Ford broke up a third-down pass for Sills.
TOUCHDOWN: Herbert 67-yard run (4:11) WVU leads 28-10
Meacham has found an edge against WVU’s defensive front. Herbert burst through an inside gap and took it to the house. The breakaway gave the sophomore a career-high with 166 yards. (Drive: 3 plays, 75 yards in 1:06)
TOUCHDOWN: Sills 49-yard pass from Grier (5:17) WVU leads 28-3
West Virginia enjoyed its fourth 80-plus drive of the half. It featured Jennings making a 10-yard catch on third-and-8 before Grier hooked up with Sills for the score. It featured some nice moves after the catch as the Kansas secondary continued its poor tackling. (Drive: 7 plays, 85 yards in 2:10)
— Kansas went three-and-out.
TOUCHDOWN: McKoy 23-yard run (8:56) WVU leads 21-3
On a run-dominated series, Grier exploited KU on a third-and-5 blitz by hitting Crawford on a swing pass for 16 yards. McKoy’s touchdown was superbly blocked, requiring a second-level juke. (Drive: 10 plays, 86 yards in 3:22)
— Kansas trailed but had its run game humming with 125 yards on 19 carries. That set up a little trickery from new coordinator Doug Meacham, who had Steven Sims attempt a receiver pass off a screen thrown behind the line. Unfortunately for KU, Sims’ throw was behind Taylor Martin running open down deep.
TOUCHDOWN: Crawford 11-yard run (3:37) WVU leads 14-3
David Sills caught a 26-yard pass on third-and-7 and tacked on a 24-yard gain to move WVU into the red zone. (The lone blight was Marcus Simms being helped off with a left leg injury after an 8-yard catch.) Crawford finished the drive with an inside run on which he was untouched. (Drive: 7 plays, 80 yards in 1:43)
— Yes, Kansas punted, but it also siphoned another 3-plus minutes off the clock with an eight-play, 43-yard drive. Fans were robbed of another fourth-down try when Chris Hughes false-started for the second time.
TOUCHDOWN: Kennedy McKoy 7-yard run (3:37) WVU leads 7-3
Justin Crawford carried five times for 50 yards on the drive, and Ka’Raun White caught a 20-yarder from Grier before McKoy punched it in on his first carry back from a suspension. (Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards in 2:17)
— Kansas punted on its second series but not before Herbert gained another first down.
— West Virginia’s opening possession began with a 13-yard run by Crawford but ended with a punt after Simms dropped a third-down bomb.
FIELD GOAL: Gabriel Rui from 28 yards (8:52) Kansas leads 3-0
The Jayhawks ran on 12 of 13 offensive snaps, with Khalil Herbert gashing the defense at times. He had 10 carries for 70 yards, including a fourth-and-2 conversion in which the pile moved 7 yards to the WVU 24. Kansas was eyeing another fourth-down try inside the 10 when lineman Chris Hughes false started, necessitating a field goal. (Drive: 14 plays, 62 yards in 6:08)
— West Virginia’s cornerback play has been dubious so far, aside from Mike Daniels. The senior will be tested today against a variety of KU receivers, including the dynamic Steven Sims and taller guys like 6-4 Chase Harrell and 6-2 Jeremiah Booker.
“I’m not satisfied,” Daniels said. “I know I can do better and I will do better. I’m not popping off the tape yet, and in order to get where I want to get I have to do that. Interceptions, PBUs, great tackles — I’m just ready to ball out.”
— Linebacker David Long, out since suffering a midsummer meniscus injury, is close to returning, though he’s not in pads today. Expect his return at TCU in two weeks. “I think he hit 18.8 mph last week,” defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said. “The kid’s a worker, so we knew he’d be bask as soon as possible.”
— Bandit safety Toyous Avery also is out for the second straight game.
— WVU center Matt Jones had his hands full with Virginia Tech’s Tim Settle and today brings another tough matchup against Daniel Wise. “For a guy that hasn’t played that position at this level, Matt’s done a nice job, but he’s got so much more to give,” said offensive line coach Joe Wickline. “Whatever level you’re at, it’s about looks. He needs to more looks, make mistakes and get them corrected.”
— WVU leads the overall series 5-1, with that outlier a goalpost-toppling afternoon in 2013.
— Kansas is 1-17 in Big 12 games under David Beaty, but that one was the last one (last November’s upset of Texas). So there’s a one-game streak at stake today for the Jayhawks.
— Our MetroNews staff picks for today: