ShareThis Page

Sloppy West Virginia good enough to beat Kansas

| Saturday, Oct. 6, 2018, 5:33 p.m.
West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (7) fumbles the ball against Kansas during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Morgantown, W. Va., Saturday Oct. 6, 2018.
West Virginia quarterback Will Grier (7) fumbles the ball against Kansas during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Morgantown, W. Va., Saturday Oct. 6, 2018.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — One messy game didn’t diminish West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen’s confidence in Heisman Trophy hopeful Will Grier.

Grier’s four turnovers overshadowed a four-touchdown performance in No. 9 West Virginia’s 38-22 victory over Kansas on Saturday.

West Virginia (5-0, 3-0 Big 12) has won its first five games for the second time in three seasons.

“We’ll take the sloppy win and go home,” Holgorsen said.

The heavily favored Mountaineers had no trouble moving the ball, but Grier’s efforts to throw into extra coverage near the goal line cost his team plenty of points.

Grier was intercepted three times in the first half either in the end zone or at the goal line, two of them by cornerback Hasan Defense. All three of Grier’s interceptions occurred when West Virginia had driven inside the Kansas 15-yard line.

“He has the confidence to make any throw and every throw,” Holgorsen said. “That’s why he’s a hell of a quarterback, but those windows become small. I thought their defenders did a better job of attacking the ball than our receivers did.”

Kansas (2-4, 0-3) entered the game leading the Big 12 with eight interceptions, including three returned for touchdowns.

Grier said Kansas did a good job of mixing up its defensive schemes near the goal line. West Virginia saw its streak of 15 straight scores inside the opponents’ 20-yard line snapped.

“We’ve got to be better in the red zone,” Grier said. “I got to be better on not forcing things. It will be fixed going forward.”

Grier also had a third-quarter fumble on a scramble. West Virginia had committed six total turnovers in its previous four games.

Kansas was limited to 286 yards of offense but stayed in the game until late. Peyton Bender hit Jeremiah Booker with a 35-yard pass early in the third quarter and Khalil Herbert, who had a career-high 291 yards rushing against West Virginia last season, followed with a 31-yard TD run to pull the Jayhawks within 21-14.

Grier made good on West Virginia’s only other possession of the quarter, hitting running back Martell Pettaway with a 12-yard scoring toss.

After Kansas turned the ball over on downs in its own territory late in the game, Grier found David Sills with a 17-yard touchdown with 2 minutes, 20 seconds left for a 38-14 lead. Grier finished 28 of 41 for 332 yards.

Kansas coach David Beaty praised his defense for forcing Grier to attempt mostly short throws.

“I don’t recall them having a big bomb of a catch that they are known for just about every game,” Beaty said.

West Virginia freshman Leddie Brown caught a 15-yard scoring pass from Grier and also had a 1-yard touchdown run, both in the first quarter. Brown finished with 11 carries for 107 yards.

Kansas freshman Pooka Williams, the Big 12’s leading rusher, was held under 100 yards for the third straight game. He had 12 carries for 65 yards.

Goal-line stands on defense kept this one from becoming a rout, but the result was the Jayhawks’ 13th straight Big 12 loss. They haven’t won a league road game in 10 years.

The Mountaineers put together their best second half scoring in Big 12 play this season after the first-half turnover troubles. They went scoreless on offense after halftime in a 42-34 win at Texas Tech and failed to score over the final 22 minutes in a 35-6 win over Kansas State.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me