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West Virginia soundly outplayed, loses first game in 2018

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The Mountaineers did not look like the team that came into Saturday 5-0.

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

West Virginia played 314 minutes, 47 seconds of football in 2018 without trailing. However, David Montgomery strolled into the endzone with 13 second left in the first quarter and WVU spent the rest of the game against Iowa State playing catch-up, a game that ultimately ended in the team’s first loss of the season.

The Mountaineers (5-1, 3-1) were thoroughly defeated on all three sides of the ball by the Cyclones (3-3, 2-2) on Saturday night in Ames, Iowa. The much-praised offense only notched nine first downs in the game, and amassed a meager 153 yards on offense. Especially concerning was WVU’s dismal 53 yards on the ground.

Maybe the most telling stat is WVU’s one-for-10 conversion rate on third down, which hamstrung the offense to just 42 total plays in the game.

Will Greer completed 11 passes on 15 attempts for 100 yards, one touchdown and one interception, but was sacked seven times by a Cyclone defense that seemed to blitz all night. He officially rushed for -33 yards on the night.

Montgomery, the junior running back, seemed to enjoy cutting around the WVU O-line all night, as he racked up 189 yards rushing. ISU totalled 244 rushing yards against a poor-tackling WVU defense.

Brock Purdy, ISU’s true-freshman quarterback, competed 18 passes on 25 attempts for 254 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

WVU did score first in the game, on a Grier pass to David Sills V at 6:47 in the first, after Dravon Askew-Henry picked off Purdy. Iowa State immediately answered. David Montgomery’s 37-yard run on fourth and one took the Cyclones to the 4 yard line, and Purdy found a wide open Hakeem Butler in the back corner of the endzone.

ISU took the lead when Montgomery easily found the end zone from to yards. WVU was unable to tackle the star running back for loss on two plays that drive, but instead surrented the score.

The hosts took a 20-7 lead on a third and 16 play that saw Charlie Kolar evade a WVU defensive back, catch a ball on a deep out route, and rumble into the endone.

The lone highlight of the night was a blocked field goal by Kenny Bigelow that Derrek Pitts Jr. picked up and ran back 72 yards for a touchdown. That made the score 20-14 going into the half and provided Mountaineer fans with a glimmer of hope.

However, that hope was never realized, as the Cyclones continued their dominating defense in the second half.

ISU scored early in the fourth quarter on a 32-yard Purdy pass to Deshaunte Jones. The Cyclones then converted on the two-point conversion to go up 28-14.

WVU sealed its fate with 5:14 to play when Yodney Cajuste was flagged for a holding penalty in the endzone, resulting in a safety.

The Mountaineers now have 10 days of rest before the Baylor Bears come to town on Thursday, Oct. 25. This will be WVU’s second bye week of the season; the first off week came after the game against NC State was canceled.