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Mountaineers burn out in fourth quarter, fall to Iowa State 38-14

MORGANTOWN W.Va- In a game that started with West Virginia squarely in the mix, injuries to first-team starters slowly caught up to the Mountaineers and proved to be too much to overcome, as the Iowa St. Cyclones ran away with a 38-14 win in Morgantown on Saturday.

Quarterback Austin Kendall left the game early in the first quarter after a stripped ball took him to the ground. He would go from the medical tent to the locker room, and Jack Allison would come in as the backup remaining in for the duration of the game.

The Mountaineers were able to strike first when Tykee Smith picked off Cyclone quarterback Brock Purdy on a tipped ball and was able to take it into the endzone for the early lead. Drops by the Cyclone receivers haunted Iowa St. through the first half, including three on one drive, which resulted in the tipped pick-six.

The Mountaineers and Cyclones traded blows throughout the first half, and the score remained tied through halftime. 

Although Allison was strong in the first half completing 10/12 for 107 yards, the offense fell flat thereafter, failing to score and sustain drives during the entire second half, proving the difficulties of putting a backup quarterback in during the middle of a game.

“Jack didn’t get a lot of reps in (practice), so right in the middle of the first quarter we had to change (quarterbacks), and we basically went to some plays we thought he was comfortable with,” said head coach Neal Brown. “I think it’s tough when a backup quarterback has to come in and play in a game. I think it’s a tough ask for him.”

Although the Mountaineers had opportunities to keep drives going, Brown said it was the execution in key situations that led to the difficulties moving the ball.

“We got in some good third and manageable situations, and we just didn’t get it done,” said Brown. “As coaches, we’ve got to figure out some better ways to get our guys in (better) situations,” said Brown.

Aside from Kendall, the Mountaineers were also without defensive backs Keith Washington and Hakeem Bailey. Washington was unavailable due to a prior injury meanwhile Bailey was ejected due to a targeting penalty early in the second half. True freshman Tavian Mayo was forced to make his college debut, and played alongside other true freshman Tykee Smith and Kerry Martin in the defensive backs unit, in place of injured Keith Washington, and departed JoVanni Stewart.

On the offensive side for the Cyclones, true freshman Breece Hall broke out for 132 yards, and three touchdowns on the night. Wide receiver La’Michael Pettway also had a big day offensively, pulling in eight receptions for 81 yards.

Although banged up, the Mountaineers will have to get to work immediately in preparation for Oklahoma on the road next Saturday. Kickoff is at 12:00 PM, and will be televised on FOX.

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