MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A battle for Big 12 supremacy left Kansas State and West Virginia heading in opposite directions.
No. 4 Kansas State (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) is rolling through a tough conference schedule and turning away all challenges. The latest victim: the Mountaineers.
“I’m very proud of our guys and how we’ve been able to hang together in adversity and prosperity,” quarterback Collin Klein said. “And we just have to keep moving forward.”
That means returning home for games against No. 15 Texas Tech (6-1, 3-1) on Saturday and Oklahoma State on Nov. 3.
Kansas State went 3-0 over a four-week stretch of road games that included wins at No. 8 Oklahoma and Iowa State. The Wildcats seem to be improving with each game.
West Virginia? Things are going downhill fast. The offense is broken down, the defense is nonexistent and the Mountaineers (5-2, 2-2) have plummeted from No. 5 to No. 25 in The Associated Press poll in two weeks.
Against West Virginia, the Wildcats made it look easiest of all, scoring on their first eight possessions and winning 55-14 Saturday night.
“I think we all felt comfortable,” Klein said. “The coaches did a great job of building a game plan and putting us in positions to succeed.”
That Kansas State succeeded on offense wasn’t big news. The Mountaineers had surrendered an average of 53 points over its past four games, and they let Klein throw for a career-high 323 yards and three touchdowns and run for four scores.
What was surprising was how West Virginia’s offense — so explosive in its first five games behind Geno Smith — came up with a dud for the second straight week.
Kansas State has not allowed an opponent to score more than 21 points all season. And the Wildcats forced Smith to throw his first two interceptions of the year.
Smith now has been limited to a touchdown pass apiece against two straight solid defenses after picking apart teams such as Marshall, Baylor and Texas, all among the worst defenses in the country.