MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kansas State kept up its reputation for plugging away at the run game, yet awoke the sellout crowd with a second-half 77-yard touchdown pass to Deante Burton on Saturday.
The Wildcats’ longest play from scrimmage this season, thrown by a receiver forced into playing quarterback, proved vital in the 24-23 victory over West Virginia.
“It was a coverage thing—all the defense’s fault,” said WVU cornerback Daryl Worley. “It’s a play we should have stopped.
“It should’ve been a combo (coverage) situation between the deep guys and it didn’t happen, so they made a play.”
Burton lined up wide left against Worley, who retreated and expected help from safety Dravon Askew-Henry in the middle of the field. When Burton made the double-move toward the post, however, Askew-Henry wasn’t there, having vacated to cover slot receiver Andre Davis.
“Dravon was getting two vertical routes at him,” said defensive coordinator Tony Gibson. “Daryl was counting on help and it wasn’t there.”
Kody Cook, who made three first-half catches before startin quarterback Joe Hubener was injured on the opening drive of the third quarter, dropped a deep ball into the arms of Burton, who outran Worley to the pylon.
“It seems like every game (Burton) comes up with a big catch,” said K-State coach Bill Snyder.
Burton had one more big catch in him: A 14-yarder on third-and-7 with slightly more than 2 minutes remaining. Expecting Cook to sling it, Gibson dialed an all-out blitz only to be undone by soft coverage.
“We went all-out pressure, Cover Zero,” he said. “And I told them, ‘Hey let’s cover them. We’re going to come after him and make it throw it quick.’ And we didn’t execute it.”
Kansas State’s Hubener-Cook combo finished just 10-of-31 passing, though they produced 206 yards.
Cook had not played quarterback since a 36-34 loss to Oklahoma State on Oct. 3, though he threw two touchdpwns that day.
“We watched him on film and he was a pretty productive guy,” Worley said. “We just should’ve buckled down.”