NCAA Football: Kansas at West Virginia

Kansas Jayhawks running back Pooka Williams Jr. (1) runs the ball during the first quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. 

Kansas football fell 38-17 to the West Virginia Mountaineers Saturday.

This marked the first game for Kansas where the starting quarterback, junior Miles Kendrick this week, was named prior to kickoff. Kansas was also without its head coach Les Miles, who didn't travel with the team to Morgantown due to COVID-19 concerns. Tight ends coach Joshua Eargle served as head coach for the Jayhawks.

The Jayhawks started off strong in the first quarter against the Mountaineers, after freshman cornerback Duece Mayberry recovered a fumble forced by an intense hit from senior linebacker Denzel Feaster. 

After the fumble was confirmed by official review, the Jayhawks marched down the field, setting up a 41-yard field goal from redshirt freshman kicker Jacob Borcila. This gave the Jayhawks an early 3-0 lead.

Later in the quarter, the Jayhawks took advantage of their field advantage thanks to a big defensive stop. Kendrick connected with senior wide receiver Andrew Parchment for a 43-yard touchdown pass to go up 10-0. 

West Virginia responded with a 33-yard touchdown pass from redshirt junior quarterback Jarret Doege to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Bryce Ford-Wheaton, cutting the lead to 10-7. 

However, after the Kansas touchdown, the offense quieted down significantly. A majority of Kansas' subsequent drives ended in punts, with the exception of two interceptions by Kendrick. 

West Virginia also had shortcomings offensively, such as redshirt senior kicker Evan Staley missing a 44-yard field goal attempt with just over 10 minutes left in the first half.

Soon after, Feaster was disqualified from the game after being called on a targeting penalty with a little less than seven minutes left before halftime.

West Virginia then drove down the field, capping off the drive with a 6-yard touchdown pass from Doege to junior running back Leddie Brown. This gave the Mountaineers a 14-10 lead with a little more than three minutes left in the first half.

Mountaineers junior defensive lineman Darius Stills then intercepted a pass from Kendrick. This marked Kendrick’s second interception of the game. 

West Virginia took advantage of the interception and scored on a 33-yard field goal attempt from Staley with 16 seconds left in the half. The Mountaineers led 17-10 at the halftime break. 

At halftime, Kansas had 140 total yards compared to West Virginia’s 231. 

Kansas failed to capitalize off receiving the kick to start the second half. However, on West Virginia’s next drive, Doege threw an interception to junior defensive lineman Malcolm Lee at Kansas’ 26-yard line. Lee returned the interception for 11 yards to the Kansas 37-yard line. 

But Kansas stalled once again after Kendrick was sacked on 3rd-and-7, forcing another punt from the Jayhawks.

Later in the quarter, West Virginia’s Brown extended the lead to 24-10 after an 87-yard rushing touchdown. Brown finished with 195 rushing yards, averaging 10.8 yards per carry. 

The Jayhawks failed to answer West Virginia’s touchdown after Kendrick was sacked on back-to-back plays by freshman defensive lineman Akheem Mesidor. 

Doege followed up with an 8-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Sam James, bringing the lead to 31-10. Later in the fourth quarter, redshirt junior running back Alec Sinkfield punched in a 3-yard touchdown.

On the next drive Williams woke the Jayhawks’ offense up with a 92-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, bringing the score to 38-17 with under two minutes to play. 

Junior safety Davon Ferguson led the Jayhawks with nine tackles. Junior linebacker Dru Prox finished with eight tackles, one sack and three tackles for loss.

Kendrick finished the game 14-for-23 for 95 passing yards. He also threw one touchdown and two interceptions. Parchment finished with six catches for 65 total yards and a touchdown. 

Kansas will return to action next Saturday when the Jayhawks