West Virginia clinched their second straight bowl appearance, as the Mountaineers defeated Kansas 34-28 and secure bowl eligibility.
West Virginia (6-6, 4-5 Big 12) running backs Leddie Brown and Tony Mathis combined for 274 yards, and West Virginia scored three first half touchdowns and the defense forced two interceptions en route to a victory which clinches a bowl game for the second year in a row.
West Virginia got off to a rough start. Kansas drove 47 yards on their first drive, kicking a 46-yard field goal to take a 3-0 lead. On the ensuing possession for West Virginia, Brown fumbled, giving Kansas the ball deep in West Virginia territory. The West Virginia defense stopped the Jayhawks on fourth down, sacking Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels to force a turnover on downs.
Quarterback Jarret Doege and the rest of the West Virginia offense were able to find success on their next two possessions. Doege led the Mountaineers 84 yards down the field, capped off by a 14-yard touchdown pass to Winston Wright Jr, to put West Virginia ahead 7-3.
The next West Virginia drive ended the same way for West Virginia, with Wright catching another 14-yard touchdown pass to push the Mountaineers ahead 14-6.
Doege’s first big mistake of the day came at a costly time, early in the third quarter. Doege threw a pass, but Kansas linebacker Gavin Porter cut the route, and intercepted Doege’s pass, returning it for a touchdown. Kansas then tied the game, 21-21 on a two-point conversion.
Brown had 156 yards on the ground, but his most important rush was a 44-yard touchdown run in the third quarter to put West Virginia ahead 28-21.
Kicker Casey Legg added a pair of field goals following the Brown touchdown rush, putting West Virginia ahead 34-21, but Kansas was not done yet. The Jayhawks drove 68 yards in just 1:02, to cut the score to 34-28 with only 1:43 left.
West Virginia recovered the onside kick attempt, solidifying the win, and spoiling any Kansas comeback effort.
Senior linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo came through big in the second half for West Virginia. Chandler-Semedo had two interceptions in his final regular season game for the Mountaineers.
The Mountaineers were able to convert all three of their fourth down attempts, while Kansas only converted 1-4 fourth downs.
The Mountaineers know wait and see who they will be playing in a bowl game, as their regular season officially comes to a close.
Photo by Bryan Dougherty, Blue Gold Sports