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WVU vying for bowl eligibility against Kansas

West Virginia football will look to win on Saturday in order to keep their season alive, as they travel to face Kansas and try to become bowl eligible.

As West Virginia (5-6, 3-5 Big 12) enters the final game of their season, the one constant theme for this team is to continue their success from last week and try to win and become bowl eligible.

In the Mountaineers 31-23 victory over the Longhorns on Saturday, the offense’s ability to take care of the ball gave West Virginia a distinct advantage.

Quarterback Jarret Doege passed for 290 yards and three touchdowns, while not turning the ball over. This was the first game since facing TCU, where Doege did not throw an interception, and non-coincidentally, the Mountaineers won both of those games.

Offensive coordinator Gerad Parker said the difference in Saturday was everyone on the offense was stepping up and making plays.

“We were on time with the football, [Doege] was decisive as a decision maker, our wideouts and pass catchers attacked the football, and we made plays,” Parker said.

As for Kansas (2-9, 1-7 Big 12), West Virginia head coach Neal Brown believes they have played two of their best games in the past two weeks. Two weeks ago, Kansas beat Texas 57-56 in overtime, and then last week lost to TCU 31-28.

Brown said this game is a “huge game for [West Virginia] on the road. I think Kansas is playing their best football.”

Part of the reason Kansas is playing well in their past two contests are due to the success of quarterback Jalon Daniels. In the past two games, Daniels has passed for 457 yards, and five touchdowns, while only throwing one interception. Daniels has also rushed for a 82 yards on 17 carries, and has scored two touchdowns on the ground in his last two games.

Brown said Daniels is responsible for Kansas’ success and knows he is the focal point of their team.

“[Daniels] has been electric the last two weeks. He’s made play after play against Texas and TCU. You can tell he’s confident and he’s changed the demeanor of the football team,” Brown said. “Special teams and defense is playing with more energy because of what he’s doing. He’s a duel threat guy, he’s been extremely accurate the last two weeks. He’s not just a runner, he’s a guy that can throw it, he’s put it into some type windows, made some plays under duress.”

If West Virginia is able to win this game, they would be able to get that important sixth win to reach bowl eligibility. Defensive lineman Ahkeem Messidor said the team’s focus is to play hard this week, and hopefully be able to then get to play another game after this one.

“We have four guaranteed quarters and we have the opportunity to get four more. It’s definitely a great opportunity,” Messidor said.

Messidor added he knows winning this game and becoming bowl eligible would mean a lot not only for this year’s team, but for the program who is still trying to get going in Brown’s third year.

“I think it (making a bowl game) would mean a lot,” Messidor said. “Two bowl games in a row, I think it would mean a lot for the program, for the recruits as well, just seeing we went to bowl games back to back, it would mean a lot.”

West Virginia and Kansas are set to kickoff at 7:00 p.m. and the game will be televised on FS1.

Photo by Bryan Dougherty, Blue Gold Sports

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