MANHATTAN, Kan. - West Virginia’s secondary just didn’t have an answer for Kansas State junior wide receiver Tyler Lockett.
The junior caught touchdown passes of 35, 9 and 24 yards to lead Kansas State to a 35-12 victory over the visiting Mountaineers Saturday afternoon at Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan.
Lockett finished the game with eight receptions for 111 yards after making nine catches for 194 yards and two scores in last year’s K-State win in Morgantown.
This afternoon, after trailing 9-7 at halftime, and then 12-7 early in the third quarter, the Wildcats (3-4, 1-3) came alive with four straight touchdowns, three of the four coming through the air.
Backup quarterback Jake Waters threw two TD passes, including a 30-yarder to Tramaine Thompson, and Sams completed all eight of his pass attempts.
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder used both quarterbacks intermittently, bringing Waters in during obvious passing situations and using Sams when he wanted to run the football.
The two combined to complete 18 of 21 passes for 291 yards with four touchdowns, with Waters going 10-of-13 for 198 yards and three scores.
“All three sides of the ball we got dominated in the second half,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen.
After an exchange of possessions to begin the game, K-State got on the scoreboard first when Lockett got behind Ishmael Banks
for a 35-yard touchdown reception with 3:57 left in the first quarter.
West Virginia (3-5, 1-4) answered with a seven-play, 47-yard drive that culminated with quarterback Clint Trickett
’s scrambling, 6-yard touchdown run. However, Josh Lambert
’s PAT was blocked by Kansas State defensive lineman Travis Britz.
Later in the second quarter, a Trickett 50-yard bomb to Ronald Carswell
set up Lambert’s 21-yard field goal, giving WVU the lead at 9-7.
West Virginia had a chance to get more points right before the end of the first half, but West Virginia faked a 26-yard field goal attempt when holder Michael Molinari
tried to run for first-down yardage before getting stopped two yards short of the first down marker at the 4.
The Mountaineers’ lone points of the second half came on a Lambert 50-yard field goal that was set up by Kevin White
’s 43-yard reception.
“You’ve got to score touchdowns and we’ve stressed that and stressed that,” said West Virginia offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson. “We knew what they were going to do in those situations and we didn’t execute.
“We had some open guys we missed all night. We had the middle of the field and we just couldn’t make the plays,” said Dawson.
With Kansas State comfortably ahead late in the game, senior John Hubert punched in a late 4-yard touchdown run to cap off the 23-point victory.
This was the second consecutive weekend that West Virginia was unable to come up with winning plays in the second half of a very winnable football game. Last Saturday in Morgantown, the Mountaineers had an 11-point lead early in the third quarter before falling, 37-27, to the Red Raiders.
Trickett finished the game completing 15-of-28 passes for 227 yards before giving way to backup Paul Millard
in the fourth quarter. Millard finished the game completing just 4-of-13 passes for 37 yards.
Carswell led WVU receivers with three catches for 65 yards while White showed two catches for 56 yards and Charles Sims
caught seven passes for 54 yards.
West Virginia’s rushing attack was able to generate 103 yards with Sims leading the way with 43 yards on just eight attempts.
Kansas State got 306 of its 448 yards of offense in the second half.
“They’re well-coached, they play with tremendous discipline and they play with great effort,” said Holgorsen. “They got the job done here today and we didn’t.”
West Virginia has now dropped three in a row and will remain on the road to play at TCU next weekend while Kansas State remains at home to play Iowa State in two weeks.