WVU rips Kent State 34-14

A 40-yard touchdown pass from Brad Lewis to Antonio Brown got the Mountaineer offense rolling in a 34-14 win over Kent State in front of 47,458 Saturday at Mountaineer Field.

WVU, which sputtered for two quarters, began stretching the field vertically in the third quarter and it paid off.

The Mountaineers (2-1, 0-1 Big East) ripped off 21 second-half points -- all in the third quarter -- in a contest that turned into a cakewalk late.

The final numbers were staggering: 28 first downs, 503 yards in 85 offensive plays, 228 rushing yards, seven of 16 on third down and three kickoff returns for 103 yards.

West Virginia was hurt by two fumbles, but Lewis' play (27 of 34 for 286 yards with two passing touchdowns and one rushing) broke both he and WVU out of a slump.

"After (Lewis) got his confidence going he did a good job," head coach Rich Rodriguez said. "I could tell he was close. He just needed to hit one or two."

Defensively, the stats are more the result of a pair of late drives than of major breakdowns. West Virginia played well overall, especially after struggling to finish drives and settling for a pair of Brenden Rauh field goals (33 and 20 yards) and an Avon Cobourne touchdown rush for a 13-0 halftime lead.

"(Kent State) never quit," Rodriguez said. "They gave us all we had for four quarters. Our execution in the first half just didn't connect."

The second half was different. West Virginia forced the Flashes to punt and drove 69 yards in five plays for a 20-0 lead. After another KSU punt the Mountaineers turned the ball over next possession, but a Richard Bryant pick of Kent State quarterback Josh Cribbs gave West Virginia the ball again at its own 23-yard line.

Lewis immediately connected with receiver A.J. Nastasi for a first down, then hit wideout Shawn Terry on a crossing pattern to move the ball to the Kent State 36-yard line.

They were the 58th and 59th WVU plays for the game. The quick-hit plays and no-huddle offense, despite Rodriguez's statements, wore down the Flashes (1-2, 0-0 MAC) and even with two injury breaks Kent State needed a timeout in the midst of the march.

"It is frustrating the pace is not faster," Rodriguez said. "It is not nearly as fast as we want. There were a lot of mistakes."

Still, when Lewis found Phil Braxton just in front of the pylon and the junior snuck in for a 27-0 lead the game was over. The 11-yard scoring strike deflated what was left of the Golden Flashes after WVU's grueling 11-play, 77-yard drive.

Cribbs answered with an 84-yard run to make it 27-7, but Terry brought the kickoff back to midfield and WVU had its best field position of the game. WVU drive down the field with little resistance, and Lewis snuffed the Flashes with a 8-yard scramble for a touchdown.

In 1:24 WVU had run six plays for 54 yards and a score to lead 34-7. After Kent State scored again the teams coasted

"We could never get it all together," Rodriguez said. "If we can play poorly and get a win I guess I'll take that. A win is a win."

And West Virginia, winners of two straight, has a bit of a building block going into Maryland.

Selected stats: Kent State-Cribbs 13 of 31 for 117 yards and one touchdown. Rushed 20 times for 144 yards, including losses of 30 for sacks. He scored once.

Tailback David Alston 14 carries, 30 yards.

Wideout Jurron Kelly three catches for 35 yards. Alston had to catches for 16 yards and the score.

Punter Jared Fritz averaged 41.6 yards per punt.

WVU-Cobourne ran 35 times for 181 yards (5.2 ypc) and a touchdown.

Brown and Nastasi had eight catches. Brown had 116 yards and a score.

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