The West Virginia University football team pulled out their first ever win in Manhattan, Kansas on Saturday against the Kansas State Wildcats. Will Grier and the offense found their rhythm again in the first half. Grier threw for 372 yards and four touchdowns, two to both Davin Sills and Ka’Raun White.
While the offense was quiet in the second half- they did not score a point- the defense was very productive.
The Wildcats only scored three points in the second half, and that came in the fourth quarter with four and a half minutes left.
With allowing 20 points in the first half, Tony Gibson’s defense needed to tighten some things up.
The Mountaineer defense was thrown into some tough situations as the offense turned the ball over on two of their first three drives setting up good field position for Kansas State. But only allowing a field goal off of one of those turnovers is definitely a win.
This was the second straight week that the Mountaineer defense stepped up and held an offense in check for the most part.
Last week against Iowa State, WVU held them to 350 yards and 16 points. On Saturday, K- State only accumulated 332 yards and 23 points.
David Long led the team in tackles with 11. Kyzir White and Al- Rashed Benton followed with eight and seven tackles, respectively. Freshman corner Kenny Robinson had an interception and returned it for 37 yards.
All three levels of the defense are playing at a high level now, and that is a great sign.
This a great time for the defense to start stepping up. While there were some injuries early on in the season so that may have contributed to some of the struggles and losses, it seems the defense is playing up to the level they are capable of.
WVU has two games left in the regular season: a home game against Texas and then away against Oklahoma to wrap the season up.
The defense should keep the Longhorn offense contained for the most part in Morgantown on the 18th. Texas averages just over 400 yards and about 30 points per game. West Virginia should keep Texas in check and use this game as a confidence boost going into Norman.
The last game of the regular season will be one of the toughest all season. Senior quarterback Baker Mayfield is a legit Heisman contender and a possible first round selection in the NFL draft. It is going to be hard to completely stop Mayfield and the Sooners offense, who leads the nation in total yards, yards per play, and yards per game.
If David Long, Al- Rasheed Benton, Kyzir White, and Kenny Robinson can play at the same caliber they have been the last few weeks, it may be enough to slow down the Sooner offense just enough to keep WVU in the game.
It will be a higher scoring game, as both OU and WVU do not have the best defenses and very potent offensive units. But if the Mountaineers unit plays stout once again, it could be a good, high scoring game to close out the Big 12 slate for both teams.
West Virginia controls their own destiny to finish the season, as they have to win out in order to even have a chance to play in the Big 12 championship game. Because of this, it should give the team as a whole, and the defense in particular, a little extra motivation to keep playing at a high level.