Observations and Analysis From West Virginia's Dominant Win Over Kansas

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia's ground game headlined Saturday's 48-21 victory over an out-manned and over-matched Kansas team.

  • The first thing that sticks out about this victory was West Virginia's ability to get whatever it wanted on the ground. After a sluggish few series, the Mountaineers running game shredded the Kansas defense to the tune of 341 yards. Kennedy McKoy (127 yards) and Justin Crawford (129 yards) each picked up career highs. It was nice to see the Mountaineers dominate on the ground despite the absence of starting back Rushel Shell.

  • Although Crawford ended up with more yards, McKoy was very impressive and left a lasting impression in his first 100 yard performance. The 44 yard rush in the first quarter seemed to spark the offense and after the big run, the unit never looked back.

  • It was interesting to see the success that the Mountaineers had running out of the I formation again. In the first half there was a specific drive in which the Mountaineers went down the field and gashed the Jayhawks for big runs out of the I on four or five consecutive plays. The recent installation of the I shows how much head coach Dana Holgorsen is starting to enjoy running the football.

  • While the 341 rushing yards will steal most of the headlines the West Virginia aerial attack was pretty good too. Shelton Gibson (102 yards) and Daikiel Shorts (104 yards) led the way for the Mountaineers and combined for all three of the passing touchdowns.

  • It was important for Skyler Howard to bounce back in a big way tonight and get some confidence back. Howard accounted for five total touchdowns and 324 yards on the night.

  • Defensively, it was a tale of two halves for West Virginia. In the first half the Mountaineers did virtually everything right and took a 31-0 lead into the locker room. The second half was a little sloppier and after the game Tony Gibson stated that the unit was probably a little complacent after going in to the half up 31 points. He also took some of the blame saying that the unit didn't make any adjustments and he called a very conservative game in the final two quarters.

  • Rasul Douglas continues to impress. The senior corner picked up his fourth and fifth interceptions of the season tonight and Tony Gibson couldn't praise Douglas's play enough. It was imperative for Douglas to have a big game because Antonio Crawford was out with injury and the Mountaineers were thin in the secondary.

  • One thing that caught my eye was that Reese Donahue played the most he snaps he has played all year. Donahue was in for a few series in the first half and played many meaningful snaps in the game. Entering the year there were major concerns about the defensive line depth, it now looks like the Mountaineers have at least found their two ends (Donahue and Adam Shuler) for the future.

  • It was fitting for the Mountaineers to have a very solid special teams performance against former WVU special teams coordinator Joe Deforest. The Mountaineers kick return and punt return units looked very solid and for the first time this season the kickoff coverage team really stood out and played well. The only concern was the performance of Mike Molina, who went 2-of-4 on Field goals. Molina did hit his career long though (a 39 yarder).

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