The 40th straight road loss for the Kansas Jayhawks looked all too familiar for fans who watched the previous 39 build up over the last eight seasons.
West Virginia (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) scored early and often in route to a 48-21 win over the outmatched Jayhawks, the 25th time Kansas (1-8, 0-6 Big 12) has lost by 21 points or more on the road during the streak.
The Mountaineers gained 605 yards on offense, with 341 yards coming on the ground. The option attack directed by senior quarterback Skyler Howard overwhelmed the Jayhawks defense, even with starting senior running back Rushel Shell not playing due to an ankle injury.
Freshman Kennedy McKoy and junior Justin Crawford filled the void as they combined for 239 yards on the ground.
Howard threw for 260 yards and three passing touchdowns, taking advantage whenever the Jayhawks tried to play the run. Howard also chipped in 64 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns.
KU’s junior quarterback Montell Cozart finished his day in the third quarter after throwing for only 124 yards and one interception on 11 of 24 passes.
Redshirt freshman Carter Stanley entered the game in relief of Cozart, and helmed a mini-comeback for the Jayhawks. Stanley finished with 126 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
The Jayhawks scored on back-to-back possessions to cut the lead to 24 early in the fourth. Stanley hit sophomore wide receiver Steven Sims, Jr. for a 5-yard passing touchdown, KU’s first fourth quarter score against a FBS opponent this season.
Previously, the Jayhawks had only 14 fourth quarter points on the year, all scored in the home opener against FCS Rhode Island.
KU: The Jayhawks allowed the Mountaineers to score a touchdown on three straight possessions in the second quarter, and six out of eight possessions to build their 45-7 third quarter lead. KU faced a similar situation last week, when the Oklahoma Sooners scored a touchdown on seven consecutive drives in the middle quarters.
WVU: The Mountaineers 341 yards on the ground is the seventh time this season KU has allowed more than 200 yards rushing. While it’s easy to point to the futility of the Jayhawks offensive attack, a team average of 7.3 yards per carry will often lead to these types of blowouts.
KU: Another game with few silver linings for the Jayhawks. A quarterback switch seemed to paint a positive picture of Stanley before he threw a red zone interception midway through the fourth quarter. It will be interesting to see if Beaty keeps Cozart as his starter going forward.
WVU: The Mountaineers rebounded nicely after a 37-20 upset loss versus the Oklahoma State Cowboys last weekend. The College Football Playoff committee will likely see that resume blemish as disqualifying of a Final Four bid, but WVU showed they still have their eyes on the prize: a Big 12 championship.
The Jayhawks will host the Iowa State Cyclones at Memorial Stadium next Saturday at 11 am. The Cyclones (1-8, 0-6 Big 12) have lost three of their last five games by a touchdown or less, and held a touchdown deficit during the fourth quarter of their 34-24 loss against Oklahoma this week. The Jayhawks and Cyclones are the only Big 12 teams left without a conference victory this season.
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