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Mountaineers Move Past Jayhawks for Win No. 6

The West Virginia Mountaineers are bowl eligible after holding off Kansas

The West Virginia Mountaineers pick up their sixth win of the season after defeating the Kansas Jayhawks 34-28 Saturday night. 

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Kansas won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff, and the result ended in three points after quickly getting into West Virginia territory. The Jayhawks were gifted excellent field position on the first play of the Mountaineers opening possession when a bobbled handoff was eventually fumbled and Kansas recovered at the WVU 24. Nonetheless, Sean Mahone and Jared Bartlett met quarterback Jalon Daniels in the backfield for a 12-yard sack on a fourth and three at the four.

Jarret Doege and the Mountaineer offense got to work, first working Leddie Brown in the ground game for nine yards before hitting Sean Ryan down the left sideline for a 38-yard gain. Then, Kaden Prather took the wide receiver screen up the field for 21 yards down to the Kansas 16-yard line. Facing a third and eight, Winston Wright Jr. broke off his route to the pylon, and Doege dropped it in over Wright's shoulder for the 14-yard touchdown, taking a 7-3 lead. 

Kansas responded with another field goal on the follwoing drive highlighted by a 40-yard reception from Luke Grimm. 

West Virginia methodically moved the ball down the field on the ensuing possession, mixing in the pass and the run. Doege and Ryan connected for a pair of completions for 26 yards and Brown 32 rushing yards spearheaded the rushing attack to put the Mountaineers deep into Kansas territory. A holding call set up a third and fourteen. Wright Jr. went underneath the defense on a crossing route, hauled in the pass at the eight, raced to the pylon and reached in for the touchdown. 

Nov 27, 2021; Lawrence, Kansas, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Winston Wright Jr. (1) celebrates with wide receiver Kaden Prather (3) after scoring a touchdown against the Kansas Jayhawks during the first half at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

West Virginia Mountaineers wide receiver Winston Wright Jr. (1) celebrates with wide receiver Kaden Prather (3) after scoring a touchdown against the Kansas Jayhawks during the first half at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.

The Jayhawks were setup at their 35 and made quick work of the Mountaineer defense with Amauri Pesek-Hickson gashing the defense for 20 yards and a 36-yard toss and catch from Daniels to Grimm as Kansas found the end for the five-play 65-yard touchdown drive to get back within one, 14-13 midway through the second quarter. 

After missing a field goal, West Virginia got another opportunity to extend its lead with 1:40 remaining in the half, and on the opening play, Leddie Brown ripped off 21 yards before Doege hit Sean Ryan on the slant for 16 yards, forcing a Kansas timeout. Three plays later, Doege and Sam James linked up over the middle for the seven-yard touchdown as the Mountaineers took the 21-13 advantage into halftime. 

West Virginia and Kansas opened the second half with three and outs but on the Mountaineers' second offensive series, linebacker Gavin Potter stepped in front of Doege's pass attended for Isaiah Esdale took it back for the touchdown. Kansas completed the two-point conversion to even the game at 21. 

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On the ensuing possession, Kansas got another big dose of Leddie Brown. He kept the drive alive on fourth and one before breaking a 44-yard touchdown run to regain the Mountaineer lead 28-21 midway through the third quarter. 

The West Virginia defense made a stop on fourth and one at midfield, giving the Mountaineer offense a short field to work with. However, West Virginia settled for a 38-yard field goal from Casey Legg. 

Kansas chipped its way down into WVU territory with another big reception from Grimm for 20 yards and working down to the WVU but linebacker Josh Chandler-Semedo picked off Daniels in the endzone. 

The Mountaineers were looking to put the game away and started off with a 45-yard run from Tony Mathis Jr. However, the drive sputtered, and, again, the Mountaineers settled for a Casey Legg field goal, pushing the lead to thirteen, 34-21 with 5:53 remaining in the game. 

Kenny Logan Jr. returned the following kickoff 63 yards to the West Virginia 34. The Jayhawks drove the ball to the 11, but a personal foul backed them up to the 26. Then on fourth and nine, Josh Chandler-Semedo snagged his second interception of the game. 

West Virginia would go three and out, giving Kansas life. Jalon Daniels hooked up Jared Casey for 43 yards, and two plays later, Daniels rushed it in from three yards out to get within six. 

The Jayhawks' onside kick was recovered by West Virginia as the Mountaineers held on for their sixth win of the season, 34-28. 

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