The West Virginia Mountaineers soundly defeated the Kansas Jayhawks today in Lawrence to the tune of 49-0, improving their record to 6-4 (3-4 Big XII) and securing bowl eligibility. The win today marked the first time a Mountaineer football team has shut out 2 FBS opponents in the same season since 1996, when they shut out Pittsburgh and Maryland on the way to an 8-4 season.
The Mountaineer Ground-N-Pound was in full force again, racking up 426 yards on the ground. The two-headed monster of Wendell Smallwood and Rushel Shell was joined this week by QB Skyler Howard and FB Elijah Wellman to form what was basically a Mountaineer Megazord of Rushing Destruction. Skyler Howard led in rushing yards with 129 yards and 1 touchdown on 9 carries. Smallwood went for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns on 18 carries, and Shell added 108 yards and 2 touchdowns on 14 carries. West Virginia had not had 3 players rush for 100+ yards each since 1969 against Cincinnati. West Virginia also practiced on their passing game sporadically throughout the game. Skyler Howard was 13/22 for 133 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. Howard's performance marked the first time a Mountaineer QB passed and ran for 100+ yards since Pat White did it against the Louisville Cardinals in 2008.
West Virginia's defense was also stellar, completely shutting down anything the Jayhawks tried to do. Terrell Chestnut was particularly impressive early in the game with a forced fumble and an interception that he returned 32 yards for a touchdown. Rasul Douglas also added his first career interception early in the 4th quarter, and Nana Kyeremeh added another late in the same quarter, with the Jayhawks threatening to get on the board to help preserve the shutout. The Mountaineers are now 3rd in the FBS with 19 total interceptions on the season.
The Mountaineers will have the Iowa State Cyclones next Saturday in Morgantown as they continue their quest to win out for the season and finish 8-4. The game kicks off at 12:00PM and will be televised on Fox Sports 1.