Homecoming weekend is always a good time in Morgantown with the old grads joining the young lads for some good ol' Mountaineer Football. The forecast most of the day, however, was gray and damp on the tailgating. The mood was still lively, but there was a little something left to be desired. A theme that carried over onto the football field.
With Sunday's announcement of Kansas letting go Head Coach Charlie Weis, it wasn't quite the scenario we wanted going into the game against the Jayhawks. The Mountaineers preferred everything to be identical from last year except to put up a hundred on the Fightin' Bill Selfs. With Charlie absent and Clint Bowen taking the interim position, the maximum satisfaction just wasn't there to be had.... other than the cool satisfaction of victory, of course.
Kansas won the toss and deferred. Very quickly, Mario Alford takes the kick return to the WVU 35 and it is a good start for the Mountaineers. On second down, Clint Trickett finds WR Kevin White for 35 yards to flip the field and first down on the KU 30. The drive stalls and WVU settles for a field goal. Get used to it.
Honestly, there's not much to say other than WVU forces three punts in a row from the Jayhawks and they all result in Eer field goals. For clarity's sake, I'll put them down separately.
Kansas responds strongly by punting. On the next Mountaineer drive, however, Trickett sees Kevin White beat his man and finds him for pay dirt.
PASS TD: Trickett to Kevin White 0:36 1Q (PAT GOOD) #WVU 16 - #KU 0
That's more like it.
The Jayhawks are forced to punt for the fourth consecutive time. A long pass to Mario Alford and a defensive PI puts West Virginia deep into Jayhawk territory at the KU 27. The drive stalls and Josh Lambert trots out to hit his fourth FG of the day. The ball never makes it.
FG BLOCK: TJ Semike 11:07 2Q #WVU 16 - #KU 0
COME ON, SPECIAL TEAMS.
WE SERIOUSLY CAN'T GO WITHOUT A SPECIAL TEAMS MISHAP AGAINST KANSAS?
Whatever. The good news is that even with the blocked FG, the defense, which goes a big ol' gold star for this game, stepped up again and made Kansas punt (Kansas consecutive punt counter: five.)
Sadly, the only real yardage we get from it is from a Roughing the Passer penalty and West Virginia punts for the first time all game at 7:13 2Q. The Kansas consecutive punt counter, which will be henceforth be known as KCPC, rises to six and WVU doesn't mess around this time.
BIG GAIN: Trickett to Mario Alford 4:45 2Q (PAT GOOD) #WVU 17 - #OU 10
Damn, that's a fun playcall on third down. Mario Alford gets to the 2 and the horse collar penalty puts the good guys on the KU 1. RB Rushel Shell punches it in to extend the Mountaineer lead.
KCPC grows to seven giving the ball back to West Virginia with a minute left in the half. WR Jordan Thompson gets a big gain and RB Dreamius Smith breaks a run from midfield to put the Mountaineers into field goal range. Lambert connects this time to send us into halftime. All Eers.
Former WVU and Hall of Fame coach Bobby Bowden apart of today's Homecoming festivities. pic.twitter.com/ortDWgreLd— WVU Football (@WVUfootball) October 4, 2014
The Jayhawks start the half by pulling QB Montell Cozart for QB Michael Cummings. Kansas gets a facemack from the WVU defense, but the KCPC counter looms large and grows to eight. WVU starts to slow the game down with healthy doses of RBs Rushel Shell and Wendell Smallwood. This strategy works very well and brings WVU down to the KU 36. Trickett takes a shot downfield to WR Jordan Thompson for what could have been the knockout blow and gets picked off.
INT: KU Isaiah Johnson 10:38 3Q #WVU 26 - #KU 0
Good center field play from Johnson, but there's so much more to talk about here.
Tackle made by Clint Trickett following INT. 10:35 3Q #WVU 26 - KU 0
I personally love the fact that Clint went after him like that. I totally understand all the reasons why many may not, but the kid's definitely a football player. Cuts down on the pretty boy persona. I digress.
Anyway, the run of play gets a little mangled and both teams trade punts (KCPC reaches double digits at ten), but not all things are meant to last. Again, special teams....
MUFFED PUNT: WVU Jordan Thompson 5:42 3Q #WVU 26 - #KU 0
A few plays later, KCPC and the shut out that the defense had goes away. KU RB Corey Avery finds the end zone.
Lame. However, Mario Alford is still a badass.
KR TD: Mario Alford 4:04 3Q (PAT GOOD) #WVU 33 - #KU 7
Awwww yisssss sandwiches
He shall live in infamy. #WVU
Instant Mountaineer celebrity. Give this kid an honorary gold and blue bow tie.
The good news is that the WVU defense came back strong. 11/12 isn't bad, right?
The Mountaineer offense drive down the field and go for it on fourth down deep in KU territory for funsies. Conversion failed. Both teams trade punts until eight minutes left and QB Skylar Howard comes on to replace Clint Trickett for the rest of the game. His first play as a Mountaineer is a handoff to Dustin Garrison and I still don't really understand how this happened.
FUMBLE: WVU Dustin Garrison 5:29 4Q #WVU 33 - #KU 7
Garrison has two hands on the ball going down and it still pops out. ¯¯\_(ツ)_/¯¯
KU brings on QB TJ Millweard and nothing happens. Jayhawks punt and so do the Eers, but with a different outcome.
PR TD: Nick Harwell 2:23 4Q (PAT GOOD) #WVU 33 - #KU 14
I know that the game's over, but this is ridiculous. My condolences to the poor bastards who had WVU -26. West Virginia gets the ball back and runs the clock out.