LAWRENCE, Kan. — Welcome to Memorial Stadium where the buzz surrounded Brannen Greene’s six-game suspension from the basketball team more than the 0-10 Jayhawks teeing up another football game.
Weird, unlikely things had occurred here, as we recounted this week, and yes, it was windy again, which introduced another level of unpredictability. Plus, the Jayhawks may have removed themselves from the discussion of Worst Power 5 Team of the Last Quarter-Century simply by playing TCU close last week.
Maybe that distinction was re-opened by West Virginia (6-4, 3-4) rolling to a 49-0 win before a tiny crowd of—ahem—21,415 at Memorial Stadium. Here were the in-game updates:
— Kansas gets 23 yards on Ryan Willis-to-Tre Parmalee pass, but Terrell Chestnut ripped the ball free and Jarrod Harper recovered at the WVU 37.
TOUCHDOWN — Rushel Shell 8-yard run (11:34) WVU leads 7-0: Keeping it on the ground, the Mountaineers rammed it in rather easily. Wendell Smallwood ran for 15 and Skyler Howard reeled off 35 on zone read keeper. Shell encountered zero obstruction on his scoring run. (Drive: 5 plays, 63 yards in 1:40)
TOUCHDOWN — Chestnut 32-yard interception return (11:15) WVU leads 14-0: Willis’ second straight attempt at an out route came late and Chestnut stepped in front for the INT. It’s like Senior Day come early for the cornerback.
— After two incompletions, Willis throws to Steven Sims for a modest 2-yard game. Three-and-out for the Jayhawks.
TOUCHDOWN — Rushel Shell 26-yard run (7:33) WVU leads 21-0: Another too-easy scoring run for Shell capped another scoring drive for the Mountaineers. Howard completed his first pass of the day, a quick screen to Daikiel Shorts, who ran 16 yards before being touched by a defender. (Drive: 8 plays, 76 yards in 2:44)
— Kyle Rose was dinged for defensive holding, but the Jayhawks couldn’t go anywhere after a Christian Brown sack.
TOUCHDOWN — Smallwood 26-yard run (3:26) WVU leads 28-0: One play after Kansas cornerback Derrick Neal broke up a potential touchdown pass from Howard to Shelton Gibson, the Mountaineers ran an inside zone play that KU has yet to stop. (Drive: 8 plays, 75 yards in 2:23)
— Kansas goes three-and-out, though this time Willis avoids the sack of Darrien Howard.
— Howard threw a deep ball into the wind and the wind won. David Sills stopped his route and waited for the fluttering the ball to descend, which it did, into the arms of safety Michael Glatczak at the Kansas 24, leading to a 16-yard return. On the plus side, at least WVU knows Marcell Lazard can tackle.
— West Virginia, playing with the wind at its back in this quarter, punted after Howard’s third-and-5 bomb sailed way over Gibson’s head. Howard took a blindside shot from Damani Mosby, who beat Marquis Lucas.
— Kansas started at its 10 thanks to O’Toole booming a 55-yarder and KU committing a block in the back. Three plays netted 5 yards.
TOUCHDOWN — Cody Clay 2-yard pass from Howard (10:05) WVU leads 35-0: Shell ran for 20 before Howard motored for 42 more down to the KU 3. (That put Howard at 119 on seven carries, by the way.) That set up the play-action to Clay who was alone in the back of the end zone. (Drive: 4 plays, 50 yards in 1:27)
— Kansas offense: Snap. Punt. Repeat
TOUCHDOWN — Howard 9-yard run (10:05) WVU leads 42-0: Howard was 4-of-5 on the drive for 39 yards, including a third-and-8 hookup with Jordan Thompson just beyond the sticks. His touchdown run featured an inside fake before Howard outran the defense to the pylon. (Drive: 10 plays, 75 yards in 3:25)
— Kansas offense: See previous drive.
— West Virginia drove deep enough for Josh Lambert’s 41-yard field goal try, but the Jayhawks’ Brandon Stewart blocked it. The biggest news of the possession was Shelton Gibson being cracked at the goal line on a clean breakup by Derrick Neal. He eventually walked off under his own power.
— In a show of sportsmanship and compassion, WVU declined to call timeout late in the half on fourth-and-13 with Kansas punting out of its own end zone.
HALFTIME SCORE: West Virginia leads 42-0
HALFTIME STATS: West Virginia has outgained Kansas 402-59. … Howard has 129 yards on nine carries, followed by Shell’s 84 yards on nine attempts and Smallwood at 10 for 77 yards. … Howard stands 11-of-19 passing for 107 yards with a TD and an interception. … Kansas QB Ryan Willis is 7-of-19 for 60 yards.
TOUCHDOWN — Smallwood 1-yard run (10:04) WVU leads 49-0: Smallwood eclipsed the 100-yard mark on an 18-yard run earlier in the drive, which Howard extended with a third-and-6 pass to Thompson for 20 yards. Looking for a negative? Howard overthrew a wide-open Jovon Durante running a deep post. (Drive: 11 plays, 72 yards in 4:03)
— Kent Taylor separated from Nick Kwiatkoski for a 27-yard sideline catch, but KU eventually faced fourth-and-18 from the WVU 36. Willis did his best to extend the fourth-down play by scrambling away from the three-man rush, but a deep throw into the end zone was batted down by Dravon Askew-Henry.
—With a seven-touchdown lead, it was time to get William Crest some snaps at quarterback. Three runs preceded a 64-yard punt by O’Toole.
— Kansas threatened to spoil the shutout until Rasul Douglas made an acrobatic interception at the 1-yard line.
— WVU hasn’t sustained its offensive mojo with another three-and-out that featured Crest throwing two incompletions toward KJ Myers.
— Kansas threatens to break the shutout again but Nana Kyeremeh picked off T.J. Milweard in the end zone.
— Ricky Rogers took a screen 44 yards to get WVU moving, Crest fired an interception to KU’s Neal at the Jayhawks’ 15. Looked as if Crest was too locked in on the slant run by Jennings.
FINAL: West Virginia wins 49-0
Matchup to watch, part I: WVU defensive end Noble Nwachukwu against KU’s true freshmen offensive tackles, Larry Hughes and Clyde McCauley. Nwachukwu made three fourth-quarter sacks against Texas, but two were sacks only in the technical sense, and he was knocked off the ball on run plays.
Matchup to watch, part II: Kansas safety Fish Smithson, the FBS leader in solo tackles per game, should get plenty of second-level chances against Wendel Smallwood and Rushel Shell. Smithson has a neat story—a Baltimore kid who moved to Utah and shared a campus apartment when his big brother Shaky played receiver for the Utes.
Way back when: Before they were coaches, Dana Holgorsen and David Beaty faced off in the small-college ranks. Holgo played receiver at Iowa Wesleyan and Beaty played the same position at LIndenwood.
You never forget those glory days, right?
“We actually played against each other. (Holgorsen) was a heck of a player—a really, really good player for those guys,” Beaty said. “I think we may have split 1-1. I’d need to look that up to be honest with you.”
Pregame prediction: Mine was Mountaineers 40-14. Share yours below, and keep checking in as we pad with pregame notes and live-game updates.