Second Half Rally Helps K-State Edge West Virginia, 24-23




7-5 (4-5 Big 12)

6-6 (3-6 Big 12)

S. Howard (QB): 19-42, 281yds, 1TD
W. Smallwood (RB): 25car, 141yds 1TD
J. Thompson (WR): 5rec 127yds, 0TD

K. Cook (QB): 4-12, 121yds, 1TD / 19car, 34yds, 1TD
C. Jones (RB): 14car, 44yds 0TD
D. Burton (WR): 5rec 135yds, 1TD

TEAM 1 2 3 4 F
WVU 3 10 7 3 23
K-State 0 3 14 7 24

MANHATTAN, Kan. - K-State rallied from a 13-3 deficit with 21 second-half points en route to posting its sixth win of the season in a 24-23 victory over West Virginia on Saturday afternoon before a sold-out crowd at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

With the victory, K-State (6-6, 3-6 Big 12) became the sixth team -- the first from the Big 12 -- in the 12-game schedule era to stave off bowl elimination in three or more games.

Morgan Burns’ 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with 12:53 remaining in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference, as the Wildcats overcame a 13-3 halftime deficit. The return was Burns’ fourth of the season, which tied former Wildcat Brandon Banks (2009) for both the school and Big 12 records. Burns finished with 201 kickoff return yards, which ranks second in school history behind a record 221-yard effort earlier this year. Burns now has five career kickoff returns, which also ties the school and Big 12 history for most in a career.

Kody Cook started the game at wide receiver, but moved to quarterback after starter Joe Hubener left the game with an injury. Cook finished the game with 121 yards through the air on 4-of-12 passing and one touchdown, while rushing for 34 yards on 19 attempts and a touchdown.

Junior wide receiver
Deante Burton led all Wildcat receivers with a career-high 135 yards on five receptions, including a 77-yard touchdown reception from Cook, which is the longest play from scrimmage this season. Running back Charles Jones led the ground attack for the Wildcats with 44 yards on 14 rushes.

Junior linebacker
Charmeachealle Moore set career highs in tackles (17), tackles for loss (4.0) and sacks (2.0). Senior safety Nate Jackson tacked on nine tackles of his own, while fellow safety Kendall Adams added six.

West Virginia (7-5, 4-5 Big 12) opened the scoring with 2:54 remaining in the first quarter as placekicker
Josh Lambert hit a 45-yard field goal to give the Mountaineers a 3-0 lead. The drive was highlighted by a 14-yard pass to receiver Jovon Durante.

K-State answered with a field goal at the 11:10 mark of the second quarter as kicker
Matthew McCrane connected on a 40-yard field goal to cap a 5-play, 25-yard drive and tie the game at 3-3. The score was set up by a 27-yard pass from Hubener to freshman fullback Winston Dimel.

The Mountaineers scored the game’s first touchdown with 2:36 remaining before halftime as quarterback
Skyler Howard hit Durante on a 24-yard pass to push the lead to 10-3. Howard was a perfect 2-of-2 passing for 35 yards on the scoring drive.

Lambert hit is second field goal of the half – a 19-yarder – to extend the Mountaineer lead to 13-3 as time expired in the second quarter. The drive was highlighted by a 19-yard rush by running back
Rushel Shell.

The Wildcats took advantage of good field position set up by a 67-yard kick return by Burns as Cook scored from 1-yard out to pull the Wildcats within 13-10 at the 12:28 mark in the third quarter. Cook connected on a 17-yard pass, his first attempt of the game, with wide out
Kyle Klein to set up the score.

After the Wildcat defense forced a Mountaineer three-and-out, Cook hit Burton on a 77-yard pass on the first play of the drive to give the Wildcats a 17-13 lead. The pass marked the longest play of the season for the Wildcats.

West Virginia retook the lead with 6:28 remaining in the third quarter as Smallwood rushed from 14 yards out to give the Mountaineers a 20-17 lead.

The Mountaineers tacked on another field goal to push the lead to 23-17 with 13:07 left to play. A 51-yard pass from Howard to receiver
Jordan Thompson got the Mountaineers into field goal range.

Burns returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown to give the Wildcats a 24-23 lead with 12:53 left in the game. The score was his fourth kick return for a score this season, which ties the school and Big 12 record for the most returns in a single season.

Now bowl eligible, K-State waits for tomorrow’s announcement to find out which bowl game it will play in. Information on the bowl game can be found on