It was a silent, stunned crowd at Bill Snyder Family Stadium as the Mountaineers took the victory formation to seal a 24-20 win in Manhattan on Saturday.
The Mountaineers scored 10 unanswered points to defeat the Wildcats in a game in which the Kansas State offense was held to only 122 total rushing yards.
“We got beat today in all phases, and there is no way to put it or explain it in the right way,” junior quarterback Skylar Thompson said. “We just needed to play fourth quarters.”
The Wildcats opened up the game with a bang with a one-play 68-yard passing touchdown from Thompson to senior wide receiver Dalton Schoen. But from then on out, the offense struggled, especially in the fourth.
“We had one explosive play to start the game, which was a great play and great design, but we have to find some more explosive plays in the passing game. Especially when people are pressuring us and taking us off the run,” head coach Chris Klieman said.
The Wildcat offense stalled in the fourth quarter, with the final four possessions ending without points. K-State turned the ball over twice in the last four possessions.
Thompson threw a career-high 299 passing yards and one touchdown, but it was ultimately overshadowed by two interceptions — one that came on the final drive for K-State.
Thompson finished the first half throwing 10-14 for 175 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Despite the disastrous fourth quarter, Klieman said he was pleased with Thompson’s performance.
“I thought he did a nice job. To really evaluate it after not looking at it, obviously, we want to score more points — and that’s everybody, that’s not just your quarterback position, that’s everybody,” Klieman said.
The West Virginia defense entered the matchup at ninth in the Big 12 in rushing defense, but locked it down against the Wildcats, allowing only 122 rush yards in the game. K-State averaged 198 yards per game before the matchup.
“It is real tough, and that is who we are,” senior running back James Gilbert said. “When we struggle to run the ball, it is hard to do the rest of our offense and execute at a high level. It starts with the run game, we have to execute better next week.”
K-State travels to Lubbock for a battle against Texas Tech on Saturday.