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West Virginia’s bid for upset against No. 12 Kansas State falls short | TribLIVE.com
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West Virginia’s bid for upset against No. 12 Kansas State falls short

Tribune-Review
| Thursday, November 20, 2014 10:57 p.m
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
West Virginia wide receiver Shelton Gibson (1) attempts to spin around Kansas State linebacker Elijah Lee (9) on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
Kansas State defenders Dylan Schellenberg (20) and Randall Evans (15) tackle West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White (11) on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
West Virginia wide receiver Daikiel Shorts (6) fails to catch a pass in the end zone as Kansas State defensive back Dylan Schellenberg (20) defends Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White (11) misses a completion while hit by Kansas State defensive back Randall Evans (15) on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White (11) attempts to catch a pass over Kansas State defensive back Danzel McDaniel (7) on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) runs an interception back for a touchdown against West Virginia defensive lineman D.J. Carozza (91) on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Kansas State defensive back Randall Evans (15) hurdles West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett (9) after an interception Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White (11) catches a deflected pass in the end zone as Kansas State defensive back Dante Barnett (22) looks on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
West Virginia's Jaylon Myers (25) celebrates after recovering a fumble Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett (9) passes while being rushed by Kansas State defensive end Jordan Willis on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
West Virginia running back Rushel Shell (7) pushes down Kansas State linebacker Dakorey Johnson (32) on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters (15) makes a catch against West Virginia cornerback Terrell Chestnut (16) on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen complains to a referee about a play against Kansas State on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
West Virginia wide receiver Mario Alford (5) attempts to complete a pass while pressured by Kansas State defensive back Dylan Schellenberg (20) on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Kansas State defensive back Danzel McDaniel (7) and Kansas State linebacker Jonathan Truman (21) celebrate a stop against West Virginia on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Kansas State tight end Zach Trujillo (85) runs with the ball against West Virginia on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Kansas State running back DeMarcus Robinson (20) catches a pass against West Virginia linebacker Wes Tonkery (37) on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
West Virginia linebacker Shaq Petteway (36) dislodges the ball from Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters (15) on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
West Virginia running back Rushel Shell (7) leaps over Kansas State defensive back Dylan Schellenberg (20) on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Kansas State defensive back Dante Barnett (22) holds the ball up after an interception against West Virginia on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Kansas State's Colborn Couchman (57) recovers a fumble by West Virginia's Vernon Davis on a punt return Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Kansas State kicker Matthew McCrane (16) celebrates his kick with Kansas State wide receiver Collin Sexton (23) against West Virginia on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen reacts to a call against Kansas State on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
Kansas State tight end Zach Trujillo (85) dives just short of the end zone as West Virginia safety KJ Dillon (9) looks on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
West Virginia wide receiver Kevin White (11) catches a 7-yard touchdown pass in front of Kansas State defensive back Danzel McDaniel (7) on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
West Virginia wide receiver Mario Alford (5) break away from Kansas State defensive back Dylan Schellenberg (20) to score on a 53-yard touchdown pass Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
West Virginia receiver Mario Alford (5) and quarterback Skyler Howard celebrate their 53-yard touchdown pass against Kansas State on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard (3) prepares to pass as Kansas State defensive end Marquel Bryant (45) gives chase Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) dives into the end zone over West Virginia cornerback Ishmael Banks (34) on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
West Virginia defenders Dravon Henry (6) and Shaq Petteway (36) tackle Kansas State quarterback Jake Waters (15) short of the goal line Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Barry Reeger | Trib Total Media
West Virginia wide receiver Daikiel Shorts (6) hauls in a long pass in front of Kansas State defensive back Danzel McDaniel (7) on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Kansas State prepares to take the field with his teammates before playing West Virginia on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
West Virginia safety KJ Dillon (9) and West Virginia cornerback Ricky Rumph (14) celebrate a Kansas State incomplete pass Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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Steph Chambers | Trib Total Media
Kansas State wide receiver Tyler Lockett (16) rushes around West Virginia cornerback Ishmael Banks (34) on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.
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West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen and Kansas State coach Bill Snyder greet each other after the game Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, in Morgantown, W.Va.

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. –- Unimpressed with their West Virginia Mountaineers and shivering in the chill, much of the season-low crowd of 47,683 on Senior Night left after halftime. Those who hung around were warmed by the hope that something special might unfold.

It nearly did.

Backup quarterback Skyler Howard almost worked a miracle for the Mountaineers, but Kansas State had senior receiver Tyler Lockett, who caught 10 passes for 196 yards and returned a punt 43 yards for a touchdown as the Wildcats won 26-20 and handed WVU (6-5, 4-4 Big 12) its third straight loss.

The game wasn’t over until K-State recovered an onside kick in the final minute.

WVU turned the ball over four times and dug itself a 17-3 halftime hole. That’s huge against the 12th-ranked Wildcats.

“The offense was garbage,” WVU coach Dana Holgorsen said of the first half. “I thought the defense was very below average, the special teams were horrendous. We should have been winning at halftime. You turn the ball over four times against Kansas State, you’re gonna get beat.”

The son of former NFL receiver Kevin Lockett, Tyler in his previous game set the Wildcats record for career receiving yards previously held by … Kevin Lockett.

This was the third straight season Lockett tortured WVU. It helped that K-State quarterback Jake Waters suffered no discomfort.

“I don’t normally do this, but I went over to Lockett and said, ‘I’m glad you’re graduating,’ ” Holgorsen said. “That kid is a special, special football player. He did it to us three years in a row. He’s as good as it gets, but to play pass defense without a pass rush, you’ve got no chance.”

WVU quarterback Clint Trickett left the game with what was announced as a concussion, and the Mountaineers trailing 20-3 early in the third quarter. His replacement was Howard, a junior college transfer in his first season whose body of work had consisted of two incompletions.

Howard, a sophomore, immediately directed WVU to their first touchdown, a long drive that cut the Wildcats’ lead to 10. But then a flubbed Mountaineers punt return led to a field goal, and it was 23-10. Howard got WVU going again, but the drive fizzled on a fourth-down incompletion.

K-State (8-2, 7-1) missed a chip-shot field goal that would have required two touchdowns and a pair of two-point conversions just to tie the game. WVU still had a chance, taking over on its 20 with 9:26 to go. Howard quickly moved the Mountaineers 80 yards, the final 53 coming on Mario Alford’s catch and run. Now it was 23-17.

The WVU defense was doing its job, the offense was cooking and plenty of time remained.

But Lockett bit the Mountaineers again. His 28-yard reception on third-and-9 moved the ball to the WVU 25. After a penalty, it was Lockett again for 17 yards to set up fourth-and-1 from the 16. Matthew McCrane booted a 32-yard field goal, and it was a two-score game.

Trickett was 12 of 25 for 112 yards and two interceptions. Howard, the pride of Riverside (Calif.) City College via Stephen F. Austin, came in with 9:23 left in the third quarter. He rallied the Mountaineers, running, scrambling and getting the ball into the end zone to make it 20-10. Even when K-State tacked on a field goal, Howard nearly pulled it out.

Bob Cohn is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at bcohn@tribweb.com.

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