Morgantown, WV (SportsNetwork.com) – Tyler Lockett had a 43-yard punt return
touchdown and caught 10 passes for 196 yards to help lead No. 12 Kansas State
to a 26-20 win over West Virginia on Thursday night.
Jake Waters passed for 400 yards with a 7-yard touchdown throw to DeMarcus
Robinson, and the Wildcats (8-2, 6-1 Big 12) held on down the stretch to
bounce back from a 21-point loss to TCU two weeks ago before their bye.
Skyler Howard passed for 198 yards and two touchdowns for West Virginia after
Clint Trickett left the game in the third quarter, but the Mountaineers
(6-5, 4-4) lost their third in a row.
Howard’s first touchdown pass went to Kevin White, Lockett’s fellow
Biletnikoff Award semifinalist. The other was a 53-yard catch-and-run by Mario
Alford that got the Mountaineers within 23-17 midway through the fourth
The Wildcats won despite netting just one yard rushing compared to 123 for the
Mountaineers. West Virginia had 27 first downs, nine more than Kansas State,
and outgained the Wildcats 433-401 in total yards.
Alford’s touchdown started with a short reception on the left side of the
field. He weaved around Kansas State defenders in the middle of the field and
outran a half a dozen of them on the right side to get the Mountaineers within
23-17 with 7:23 remaining.
Matthew McCrane then kicked his fourth field goal of the game for Kansas
State, a 32-yarder that made it 26-17 with 2:52 to play. Josh Lambert
kicked a 25-yarder for West Virginia at the other end, but the Mountaineers
were unable to recover an onside kick.
Earlier, after Waters hit Robinson for a touchdown on Kansas State’s first
drive, the Wildcats were whistled for pass interference to give West Virginia
a first down at the 2-yard line.
But Trickett and Wendell Smallwood fumbled a handoff on the next play to give
the ball right back to Kansas State.
Later, McCrane’s 36-yard field goal 2:07 into the second quarter gave the
Wildcats a 10-0 lead before Lambert made a 47-yarder for the Mountaineers.
West Virginia recovered Lockett’s fumble on the ensuing kickoff — leading to
wild would-be touchdown that was ultimately overturned.
The play is sure to make highlight reels anyway after White alertly caught a
pass intended for teammate Jordan Thompson that was redirected twice.
But replays showed the ball touched the ground as Kansas State’s Dante Barnett
rolled over onto his back trying to make the catch — after it was tipped by
Thompson and before it popped out of Barnett’s hands and into the air for
White, who grabbed it and fell into the end zone.
After all that, Lambert missed a 40-yard field goal try.
Lockett took a punt back 43 yards down the right side to give the Wildcats a
17-3 lead with 1:12 left in the first half. Randall Evans then intercepted
Trickett with 13 ticks remaining on the clock, but Kyle Rose blocked McCrane’s
34-yard field goal try as time expired to get the Mountaineers off the hook.
Dante Barnett intercepted Trickett’s final pass, leading to McCrane’s 44-yard
field goal for a 20-3 Kansas State lead in the third quarter.
Howard led the Mountaineers to a touchdown on his first series, hitting White
from seven yards out before McCrane’s 19-yard field goal at the other end gave
the Wildcats a 23-10 lead with 2:13 left in the third quarter.
A 15-play West Virginia drive that bled into the fourth quarter ended in an
incomplete pass on fourth down from the Kansas State 26. However, McCrane
hooked a 22-yard field goal attempt wide left at the other end for the
Lockett, who has already passed his father Kevin’s Kansas State record for
receiving yards, pulled within four catches of his dad’s Wildcats record of
217 career receptions … Kansas State leads the all-time series 4-1,
including a 3-0 mark since West Virginia joined the Big 12 in 2012. The
Wildcats had won the previous two meetings by an average of 32 points …
Wildcats defensive lineman Travis Britz was carted off the field early in the
first quarter with an apparent left leg injury … Kansas State plays Kansas
next Saturday and closes the regular season at Baylor on Dec. 6 … West
Virginia has one regular-season game remaining, next Saturday at Iowa State.