University of Kansas

Kansas falls to No. 14 West Virginia

Kansas safety Fish Smithson tackles West Virginia running back Kennedy McKoy during the first half Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va.
Kansas safety Fish Smithson tackles West Virginia running back Kennedy McKoy during the first half Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va. AP

Montell Cozart has not gotten an opportunity to finish what he started at Puskar Stadium.

For the second time in his career, the Kansas starting quarterback was pulled in a game at West Virginia. Though his replacement, redshirt freshman Carter Stanley fired a couple of late touchdown passes against a prevent defense, he didn’t really have an opportunity to get the Jayhawks back into the game as the No. 14 Mountaineers rolled to a 48-21 victory.

Kansas (1-8, 0-5 Big 12) has lost 40 consecutive road games, its last 43 away from Memorial Stadium and extended its skid against Big 12 foes to 18.

West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard completed 16 of 27 for 260 yards and three touchdowns, two to Shelton Gibson, and also ran for 64 yards and a pair of scores as he ignited a Mountaineers offense that appeared stagnant early in the first quarter.

West Virginia played without starting running back Rushel Shell, but Kennedy McCoy and Justin Crawford more than picked up the slack as Kennedy carried 18 times for 127 yards and Crawford made 13 carries for 129 yards and a touchdown.

Despite an early goal-line stand by Kansas, West Virginia racked up 605 yards of offense. It didn’t help that the Jayhawks began making mistakes out of the chute as they were called for an unsportsmanlike conduct personal foul for taunting on the opening kickoff that led to an early field goal and kickstarted the offense to a 31-0 lead at the intermission.

Kansas finally broke up the shutout bid early in the third quarter.

On West Virginia’s first possession of the second half, Howard was hit and fumbled deep in his own territory and the ball was recovered by Courtney Arnick at the Mountaineers 29. Four plays later, Ke’Aun Kinner went over for a 2-yard touchdown and the Jayhawks began the climb out of the hole 3:59 into the second half.

Only 1:20 later, however, they were shoved right back in, as Justin Crawford shook loose for a 27-yard touchdown run to give the Mountaineers a 38-7 lead. To make matters worse, Jayhawks defensive tackle Daniel Wise was ejected on the extra point.

At that point, Cozart was replaced by the Stanley after completing just 11 of 24 for 124 yards and a first-half interception.

Stanley helped the team to its second score immediately after he replaced Cozart with 5:35 remaining in the third quarter. He engineered a 7-play, 74-yard drive that he capped with a 45-yard touchdown pass to running back Taylor Martin to cut the gap to 45-14 with 2:56 remaining in the period, but it was not enough.

Stanley finished 8 of 10 for 125 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in relief.

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