BGN Players of the Game: Kansas State

Nick Kwiatkoski and Josh Lambert were named Players of the Game in West Virginia's 35-12 loss at Kansas State.

Kwaitkoski, who has continually graded out as the best Mountaineer defender this season, earned Defensive Player of the Game honors. The promising sophomore handled KSU's option attack well and showcased solid discipline and a nose for the ball in recording 11 tackles, nine solo, with one tackle for loss and one forced fumble. On the tackle for loss, Kwiatkoski played pass-first on the quarterback option play, then, having secured coverage, knifed into the backfield
Offensive Player of the Game
Josh Lambert
2-2 FG/50- and 21-yarders
and dropped Daniel Sams for a loss. The play was among the better individual highlights of a game in which the WVU defense played well in stretches, but couldn't get off the field on third downs during the second half. The Mountaineers allowed three third down conversions in a key drive in which KSU took the lead for good, including gains of 11 and nine yards, the last a touchdown strike from Sams to Tyler Lockett.

Primarily a running offense, K-State amassed 448 yards of total offense, 291 through the air in shredding the WVU secondary for four scores. The Wildcats, who advanced to 3-4 overall and gained their first Big 12 win, converted on eight of 13 third downs in averaging a whopping 13.9 yards per pass. KSU, in beating West Virginia for a second consecutive time, held the ball for more than 35 minutes in the game.

Lambert, a freshman placekicker, was named the Offensive Player of the Game for connecting on a pair of field goals from 21- and 50-yards – which might reveal more about the team's offensive woes than anything else. Lambert's longer try, which set a career record, was drilled right down the middle and would likely have easily been good from 55 to 60 yards.
Defensive Player of the Game
Nick Kwiatkoski
11 tackles, 9 solo/1 TFL, 1 FF
It was certainly the brightest offensive performance in an otherwise uninspiring game in which WVU sputtered early and late.

The Mountaineers managed just one first down over their first three drives, and turned the ball over three times, two of which were fumbles by quarterback Clint Trickett. The other turnover was a game-ending interception by back-up quarterback Paul Millard, and was an example of the continual struggles West Virginia is battling with a lack of developed talent in key areas and some inexplicable execution errors. WVU ranks 96th in the NCAA FBS in average points per game with22.9 and is 89th in rushing (146.4), supposedly the strength of the squad entering the season, and 56th in passing yards (248.8). The Mountaineers must win three of their final four games to become bowl eligible.

Other offensive nominees were running back Charles Sims and offensive guard Quinton Spain. Sims had eight carries for 43 yards, an average of 5.4 yards per carry. Kwiatkoski beat out fellow linebacker Brandon Golson and defensive end Will Clarke. Golson tallied six tackles, five solo, and one tackle for loss in which he fended off a block and tackled the ball carrier with one arm. Clarke had four tackles, all solo, including two for loss, with one pass break-up.

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