MANHATTAN, Kan. — Though hardly by design, West Virginia won for the second consecutive week by not scoring in the second half.
Coach Dana Holgorsen recognizes an unsustainable trend when he sees one.
“It was a weird game,” he said after Saturday’s 28-23 victory. “I do not quite know how we won it other than our defense played their tail off. The offense was hot and cold.
“We made some big plays, which is always good, but at some point, we have got to be efficient. I just do not see an efficient offense right now.”
The second-half drive chart included five successive punts until West Virginia chewed up the final 4:33 by picking up two first downs.
Snyder: K-State could have ‘won it handily’
Claiming the game “was in our hands,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder seemed particularly stung by Saturday’s outcome.
“It was ours to win or lose,” he said. “We could have so easily have won the ball game, won it handily. It was just a matter of doing things the right way.”
The Wildcats (5-5, 3-4 Big 12) must win at Oklahoma State next week or beat Iowa State in the regular-season home finale to become bowl-eligible.
K-State kicker on controversial miss
K-State senior Mitch McCrane surpassed Martin Gramatica’s school record for career field goals, but his 3-of-4 performance included a controversial miss. His 32-yard try in the third quarter sailed over the upright.
“Apparently, it did not go in,” said the kicker. “From where I was standing, it was close, but I trust the referee’s judgment. He is right under the post and has a better angle.”
McCrane’s near-miss loomed large. Had it been ruled good, K-State’s offense would have been able to set up for the go-ahead kick in the fourth quarter, instead of Skylar Thompson throwing a third-down interception in the red zone.
WVU takes to the air
After giving Iowa State a heavy dose of the running game last week, West Virginia flipped the game plan against K-State, finishing with 46 passes against 26 rushes.
Will Grier produced his ninth 300-yard game of the season and tossed four touchdowns, all in the first half.
Ka’Raun White continued his hot streak by catching two touchdowns and racking up 168 receiving yards, one more than last week. David Sills added two more scores, giving him 18 touchdowns. Gary Jennings gained 115 yards and matched his career-high with 13 catches
“In their defensive approach, they are more stout on running the ball,” Jennings said. “We figured that by passing the ball, we would be able to get those bigger gain.”
Grier gets away
Though the Wildcats sacked Will Grier twice, he evaded numerous pressures to extend plays.
“It was tough. It was a little wet out there so he was more slippery than usual,” said K-State linebacker Trent Tanking. “When our guys would normally dive and get him, he would slip off.”
Mountaineers linebacker David Long produced his second double-digit tackling performance, finishing with 11. He had two TFLs among them.
Kyzir White made eight stops and Al-Rasheed Benton contributed seven.
“We had some guys make some plays,” said defensive coordinator Tony Gibson. “K-State creates some problems with their scheme, but I thought our guys handled it well.”
After holding Iowa State to 350 yards last week, the Mountaineers yielded 332 on Saturday.
“Right now, we’re as confident as we’ve ever been,” Gibson said.