No bowl for WVU after bad road loss

Kansas 31, WVU 19

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LAWRENCE, Kan. -- West Virginia did something Saturday no other Big 12 football team has done in more than three years: Lose to Kansas.

The Mountaineers fell to Kansas, 31-19, snapping the Jayhawks' 27-game Big 12 losing streak. Kansas' previous Big 12 win came Nov. 6, 2010, a 52-45 comeback victory against visiting Colorado, which left the Big 12 for the Pac-12 after the season.

"They're all the same," Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen said.

"Last week stung, this week stung, two weeks ago we were happy. They count as one win and they count as one loss."

West Virginia (4-7, 2-6 Big 12) went 75 yards in six plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Paul Millard to Charles Sims before Kansas (3-7, 1-6) scored the next 31 points.

Millard didn't think the Mountaineers overlooked Kansas despite the Jayhawks' lack of success in recent years.

He also said it was a difficult game to lose knowing it ends a long string of bowl appearances for the Mountaineers.

"It snaps us going to a bowl game, which we've done for a long time," Millard said of the bowl streak that dated to 2002.

Holgorsen apologized to his 12 seniors for not getting them to a bowl game, but he also noted this isn't the Big East, the Mountaineers' previous conference.

He took blame for the offense's inability to move the ball and said the days of showing up and playing at a marginal level in all facets, including coaching, were over.

"Our team is good enough to show up and play at a very high level and beat the best teams in the Big 12," Holgorsen said.

"Our team is not good where we can show up and be average and beat anybody."

The game was played in winds of 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph, forcing Millard to throw short, quick passes.

He completed 23 of 42 attempts for 242 yards and two touchdowns.

It worked best early, but then Kansas made adjustments and shut down the Mountaineers offense until late in the fourth quarter.

The Jayhawks led, 17-7, at halftime, thanks to James Sims' 68-yard run -- a season long for the Jayhawks -- with 28 seconds remaining in the first half.

Kansas started the second half with the ball, but went three-and-out and was forced to punt.

Four plays later, however, Ben Goodman intercepted a Millard pass, and the Jayhawks suddenly had the ball at West Virginia's 14.

James Sims' third touchdown run of the game capped the drive, and he ultimately finished with a game-high 211 yards on 22 carries.

"We [had] stopped the run every week; it was very disappointing in the first half to not stop the run," Holgorsen said, referring at least in part to James Sims' 123 rushing yards in the second quarter.

West Virginia defensive end Kyle Long said the Jayhawks offensive line sat back and waited for the Mountaineers defensive line to come to them.

"It was a weird blocking scheme," said Long, who also noted he hates losing more than he likes winning.

"They then position-blocked us. It wasn't power blocking like we're used to. It didn't allow us to pressure like we wanted to."

The Mountaineers scored enough points to win a typical game against Kansas as it was the first time the Jayhawks had scored more than 19 points against a major-college team in 364 days.

Charles Sims ran for 99 yards and added a 6-yard rushing touchdown with 28 seconds left in the game for West Virginia.

Holgorsen didn't sense the Mountaineers' performance was based on poor effort.

"We had energy in the hotel," Holgorsen said. "We got to the game, and I thought there was energy in the locker room.

"Our offense has relied on our defense the whole year.

"When they saw the defense giving up points, I think they were shaken up."

The Mountaineers will finish their disappointing season at home against Iowa State Nov. 30.

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