Same story, different week for West Virginia (3-5, 1-4) as the Mountaineers struggled with consistency and mistakes in the second half falling to Kansas State (3-4, 1-3) 35-12 Saturday afternoon in Manhattan.
West Virginia was able to secure a 12-7 lead early in the third quarter, but three straight Kansas State passing touchdowns put the game out of reach. The Wildcats quarterbacks threw for four touchdowns against the Mountaineers secondary after only tossing for seven on the entire season.
Clint Trickett started the game for West Virginia and completed 15 of his 28 passes for 227 yards including a rushing score before giving way to Paul Millard late in the game.
West Virginia opened with the football but wasn't able to generate anything offensively going three and out and giving the Wildcats the football at their own 45-yard line to open the game.
After a big run by Jon Hubert to put the Wildcats deep into Mountaineers territory, the West Virginia defense stood up and made a big play when Karl Joseph was able to strip the ball from Jake Waters on a designed quarterback run and the ball ended up in the hands of Ishmael Banks.
However, much like the first possession the West Virginia offense failed to move the football getting one first down before booting the ball back to the Wildcats. With the second possession was the debut of Sams but much like the Mountaineers, the purple-clad Wildcats would punt the ball back to West Virginia after coming up a yard short but pinning the ball deep in WVU territory.
After yet another three and out by the West Virginia offense, the Wildcats got the football in Mountaineers territory and were finally able to capitalize on the field position battle. On third and 15, Waters came into the game and connected with a wide open Tyler Lockett for a 35-yard touchdown pass to give Kansas State an early 7-0 lead.
The Mountaineers would generate an eight play, 31-yard drive but failed to cash in on any points, pinning Kanas State deep in their own end. The West Virginia defense would force a three and out to give the ball back to the offense at mid-field.
Much like their opponent, the West Virginia offense could cash in on the short field, taking the ball 47-yards on a seven play drive that was capped off by a six yard rushing touchdown by Clint Trickett. However, the point after was blocked leaving the Mountaineers still behind on the scoreboard 7-6 with 10:05 left in the half.
The Mountaineer defense was able to hold again, getting the ball back to West Virginia and Trickett and the offense was able to put the visitors ahead 9-7 with a six-play, 79-yard drive capped off by a 21-yard field goal by Josh Lambert. The big play on the drive was a 50-yard pass from Trickett to Ronald Carswell to set the Mountaineers up inside the ten yard line.
And the West Virginia defense would only continue their strong first half with another three and out to set the offense up at the Kansas State 45-yard line. The West Virginia offense would once again move the football deep into Wildcats territory but a fake field goal attempts was stopped just short, giving Kansas State the ball back to run out the rest of the half.
Kansas State opened the second half with the football and the West Virginia defense rose up again to hold the Wildcats to yet another three and out forcing a punt to give Trickett and the offense the football back. But the West Virginia offense gave the football right back after Trickett was hit in the backfield forcing a fumble that the Wildcats would drive the ball inside the ten.
But the defense again would make a stand, forcing their own fumble on Sams that would roll into the end zone where Joseph would jump on the ball for a touchback. Trickett would connect with Kevin White on a tunnel screen for a 43-yard gain, but the Mountaineers offense would stall once again forcing Lambert to come on for a 50-yard field goal that he would split the uprights to give West Virginia a 12-7 lead with 10:40 left in the third quarter.
Kansas State would put together their best drive of the game reeling off a 14-play, 78-yard march where once again third down would prove to be the back breaker, as Lockett would get loose on third and goal from the nine-yard line for a touchdown toss from Sams to give Kansas State a 14-12 lead.
West Virginia would stall again and Kansas State would seize control of the game on another drive aided by some third down conversions that would end with a Waters 30-yard touchdown strike to Tremaine Thompson to put the Wildcats up 21-12.
The Mountaineers wouldn't do themselves any favors after several positive plays, Trickett would run for a first down on third and five but Ty Zimmerman would strip the football giving the ball back to the Wildcats at midfield. And from there the Wildcats would deliver a knockout punch when Waters would connect 24-yard touchdown toss to Lockett, his third of the day, to put Kansas State ahead 28-12. The Wildcats would add a short Hubert rushing touchdown late to make the final score 35-12.
The loss is the third in a row for West Virginia who will travel to Fort Worth to take on TCU next weekend.