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Grier, Crawford help West Virginia put away Kansas, 56-34

September 23, 2017
Associated Press

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Will Grier threw for 347 yards and accounted for four touchdowns, Justin Crawford ran for 125 yards and another score and West Virginia pulled away late to beat pesky Kansas 56-34 on Saturday.

David Sills V had 130 yards and two TDs receiving, and Kennedy McKoy also reached the end zone twice, as the Mountaineers (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) beat Kansas (1-3, 0-1) for the sixth time in seven meetings.

They did it by overcoming a career game from sophomore Khalil Herbert, who ran for 291 yards and two TDs. It was the third-most yards by a Kansas player on the ground in school history.

Peyton Bender added 197 yards and a TD through the air, but he also threw a pair of picks, while a porous defense that allowed 40-plus points to Central Michigan and Ohio struggled once more.

The Mountaineers looked as if they'd cruise past the Jayhawks again when they put together four straight touchdown drives in the first half. Each covered at least 80 yards, none took more than 3:22 off the clock, and the result was a 28-3 lead midway through the second quarter.

Herbert finally stopped the onslaught with a 67-yard touchdown run, but the Mountaineers' Mike Daniels picked off a tipped pass a couple minutes later and returned it for another score.

But the Mountaineers' seemingly comfortable 35-13 halftime advantage didn't last long.

Their offense suddenly hit the skids, punting four times and turning it over once during a five-possession series spanning the break. And a defense that had started to bottle up Herbert again became leaky, allowing short touchdown runs a couple minutes apart to make it 35-27.

Suddenly, the sparse crowd that turned out on a hot, sunny afternoon began to think back to 2013, when the Jayhawks stunned the Mountaineers 31-19 on a cool November day.

The teams swapped TDs in the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers getting a second chance at the end zone after an offside penalty on a field goal, and it was still 42-34 with 7:35 left in the game.

Grier answered with a QB keeper then scored again a few minutes later to put it away.

THE TAKEAWAY

West Virginia: Grier had the Mountaineers humming early and late, but the offense sputtered out of rhythm during a long stretch in the middle of the game. Their counterparts on defense didn't help much, getting pushed around by the Kansas offensive line most of the afternoon.

Kansas: Miscues doomed the Jayhawks, from the pick-six to penalties when they were going for it in fourth-and-short situations. But while coach David Beaty insists there are no moral victories, the way Kansas responded to adversity was something to build upon.

UP NEXT

West Virginia has a week off before visiting No. 16 TCU on Oct. 7.

Kansas also gets a week off before Texas Tech visits Oct. 7.

___

More college football coverage: http://collegefootball.ap.org and www.Twitter.com/AP_Top25

 
 
 

 

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