Thoughts on WVU’s Win Over Kansas
We take a look at some of the positives and negatives in WVU’s win over Kansas in the Big 12 opener.
The West Virginia University football team won its third game of the season on Saturday, defeating Kansas 56-34. While the Mountaineers came out on top, the game wasn’t always pretty.
1. Defensive struggles continue
WVU’s defense may have had its worst game of the season against the lowly Jayhawks. The dawgs gave up a total of 564 yards and nearly blew a 25-point lead. Coming into Saturday’s game, Kansas’ rushing offense was ranked 106th in the country. Despite generally poor numbers, the Jayhawks ran wild on the Mountaineers. Kansas’ running back Khalil Herbert put up Heisman-like numbers against WVU. Previously, Herbert totaled 147 yards in two games in the Jayhawks’ loss to Ohio and win over Southwest Missouri State. On Saturday, he rushed for 291 yards and two touchdowns. One of Herbert’s runs blew past the defense for a 67-yard touchdown run. That wasn’t the only big blunder for the defense. After suffering an injury, Mike Daniels let receiver Steven Sims get free and pick up a 64-yard reception.
However, the defense did have a few bright spots. Freshman Lamont McDougle forced a fumble, Daniels had a pick-six and JoVanni Stewart made two stellar one-on-one tackles in open field.
2. The injury bug strikes again
The Mountaineers are already down Toyous Avery, Marvin Gross, David Long, Grant Lingafelter and Jacob Buccigrossi. Now, it is said that linebacker Brendan Ferns suffered a possible season-ending shoulder injury during a kickoff against Kansas. According to Chris Anderson of 247sports.com, Ferns was spotted on the sidelines with his right arm in a sling.
“He was immediately taken back for x-rays, and the initial diagnosis was a complete tear of the AC joint – a severe shoulder separation,” Anderson wrote. “Rest followed by physical therapy for several weeks is the treatment in some cases, but Ferns’ injury is severe enough that surgery is expected. He flew back with the team on Saturday night and will get a second opinion, possibly as soon as Sunday.”
Senior safety Kyzir White exited midway through the game and never returned. And Daniels suffered a knee injury. He returned to the field but gave up a long pass and was pulled from the game.
3. The Will Grier-David Sills connection continues to flourish
Grier and Sills just seem to mesh well together. The junior quarterback connected eight times with the junior wideout. Sills finished the afternoon with 130 yards and two touchdowns. In the second quarter, Grier found Sills for a 49-yard touchdown pass.
4. WVU’s run game is on point
WVU has a dual threat between its passing and run games. The Mountaineers rushed for 288 yards against Kansas. For the fourth consecutive game, Justin Crawford finished with more than 100 yards. The senior back had 125 yards and one touchdown on 18 carries. Kennedy McKoy finished the afternoon with 105 yards and two touchdowns. Behind Crawford and McKoy is the talented Martell Pettaway and Tevin Bush. There is no doubt the WVU’s run game has potential to wreak some havoc on Big 12 defenses.
The Mountaineers have some extra time to fix some mistakes from Saturday’s victory before traveling to Forth Worth to showdown against No. 9 TCU on Oct. 7.
Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports