WVU Football is Bowl Game Eligible After Win Over Kansas City
WVU Football earned its first shutout victory since 2012, the year they joined the Big 12 conference. The Kansas City Jayhawks have been through a trying season, featuring a roster made-up of mostly true freshman and redshirt freshman, and you could tell the inexperience when the Mountaineers took the field. Of West Virginia’s first six possessions, the team capitalized on four of them.
A gusty wind blanketed Kivisto Field Memorial Stadium on Saturday, but that didn’t keep the Mountaineers down as Terrell Chestnut forced the Jayhawks Tre’ Parmalee to fumble, which kicked off the Mountaineers’ scoring with a Rushel Shell touchdown several plays later. Chestnut came up big for WVU on the next play when he caught an interception from Kansas City QB Ryan Willis and brought it back for the second touchdown of the game.
West Virginia continued their first quarter scoring run with two more touchdowns that came by way of their running backs. Though the West Virginia running game has been getting stronger throughout the season, it climaxed against Kansas City on Saturday. Skyler Howard was also able to get in on the running game in the beginning of the second quarter as he weaved his way through the Jayhawk defense for a 42-yard gain. At the 3-yard line, Howard threw a short pass to Cody Clay in the back of the end zone to put the Mountaineers up 35-0.
On the next possession, Howard chose to take it in himself from the nine with about 5 minutes to go in the first half. The question after the first half wasn’t if West Virginia would take the game, but if for the first time since 1969, would the Mountaineers have three 100-yard rushers in the same game.
At the end of the third quarter, it happened. After Howard collected his 100-yards by the end of the second quarter, Wendell Smallwood had collected his 100 by the beginning of the third, leaving Rushel Shell. With two minutes left on the board during the third quarter, Shell ran the ball for 19 yards to earn 102 rushing yards and complete the trifecta.
By the conclusion of the game, the Kansas City Jayhawks were leaving with a loss, and the Mountaineers were able to say that they are bowl eligible yet again under Head Coach Dana Holgerson. Exactly what bowl game will remain undetermined until WVU finishes regular season play, but we know Mountaineer Nation will be excitedly awaiting the announcement.
With a first in 46 years, the heroes of the game would have to go to the three 100-yard rushers against Kansas City. Howard, Smallwood, and Shell combined for a fierce trio that couldn’t be stopped against the inexperienced Jayhawks.
Howard not only ran an amazing rushing game, but completed 13 of 22 passes including a touchdown despite the vicious wind during play. Smallwood and Shell came through early in the game, guaranteeing a Mountaineer victory before the end of the first quarter.
We can’t forget the explosive start to the WVU shutout victory. Chestnut kicked the game off in high fashion, making plays to ensure WVU would earn a win. When a player comes out the way Chestnut did to start the game, they set the tone for the entire team for the remainder of the game.
Since struggling with an upsetting October schedule, WVU needs players who can pick the team up and set them back on the right path again, and Chestnut’s timing couldn’t have been better. With the win, WVU will continue play into Bowl season this year.
WVU football continues play on Saturday November 28th at 12PM against Iowa State at home. Be sure to make it into Mountaineer World before the game to get geared-up for another Mountaineer win!