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Will Howard leads No. 15 Kansas State past West Virginia

Sportsnaut
Nov 19, 2022; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; Kansas State Wildcats tight end Sammy Wheeler (19) catches a pass during the first quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Will Howard threw for 294 yards and two touchdowns as No. 15 Kansas State matched its season high in points in defeating West Virginia 48-31 in Morgantown, W.Va., on Saturday afternoon.

Kansas State (8-3, 6-2 Big 12) will clinch a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game with a win at home against Kansas next week or a Texas loss next Saturday against Baylor.

Garrett Greene threw three touchdowns to Sam James for West Virginia (4-7, 2-6), but he also tossed two costly interceptions.

After a high-scoring first half, West Virginia used more than 8 1/2 minutes at the start of the third quarter and came away empty after Casey Legg missed a 44-yard field goal try. Neither team scored in the third quarter.

Howard found Malik Knowles on the left sideline for a 43-yard touchdown pass less than three minutes into the fourth quarter to ice the victory. Greene later added a 13-yard touchdown run to complete the scoring.

The first quarter saw the teams combine for seven touchdowns. Kansas State went 69 yards in five plays, capped by a 15-yard touchdown run by Deuce Vaughn. On the Mountaineers’ subsequent possession, Cincere Mason intercepted the ball at the West Virginia 37 and returned it for a touchdown and a 14-0 lead.

West Virginia responded with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Greene to James to cap a 75-yard drive on eight plays. The Mountaineers then copied Kansas State’s plan with a pick-six. Malachi Ruffin picked off Howard at the Kansas State 43 and raced untouched for the score. The extra point was missed, maintaining the Wildcats’ lead at 14-13.

DJ Giddens then raced around the left end for a 49-yard touchdown to give Kansas State a 21-13 lead. After West Virginia failed to convert on fourth-and-short on their own 34, Kansas State took a 28-13 lead when Howard drove in from inside the 1-yard line. Greene answered with a 71-yard strike to James. Legg, who hadn’t missed an extra point this season, missed his second straight, leaving the first-quarter score 28-19.

Howard later found Ben Sinnott with a 15-yard scoring pass to put the Wildcats up 35-19, but Greene hit James for his third touchdown. The 2-point conversion failed.

Ty Zentner converted a pair of field goals in the final two minutes of the half to extend Kansas State’s lead to 41-25 at halftime.

–Field Level Media