Kansas State rips apart West Virginia, 55-14
West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith walks off the field after a turnover on downs.
West Virginia fans watch from the stands during the second half.
Kansas State's Ty Zimmerman, left, is tackled by West Virginia's Travares Copeland and Tavon Austin (1) following an interception during the third quarter.
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- The nightmare continued for West Virginia Saturday night.
The Mountaineers defense was shredded in every way imaginable as Colin Klein and Kansas State scored on their first eight possessions on the way to a 55-14 blowout in a Big 12 Conference showdown.
Geno Smith threw two second-half interceptions, breaking a streak that dated to December, and did not get his team past the 50 until halfway through the third quarter.
Right about that time, a line of red tail lights snaked away from Milan Puskar Stadium as the program's worst loss at home in decades played out into the chilly night.
"What I told the team is, this goes beyond a weekly game-planning situation, or a weekly game-planning issue," West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said. "When you're playing a team that does everything right ... playing a team that plays smart, we've got to get this program to where its doing that."
Holgorsen, questioned about his defensive schemes, said he stands by them.
"The schemes are fine," he said. "We didn't forget how to just coach football. There's a bunch of guys in the locker room that are upset, hurt who won a whole bunch of football games."
If a 49-14 loss a week earlier at Texas Tech was thought to be an anomaly, Saturday assured it might be a long first year in the Big 12.
The only solace? West Virginia is off next week before returning Nov. 3 to play TCU at home.
In the first half, Klein rushed for scores twice from the 1, once from the 8 and threw a touchdown pass of 10 yards.
He passed at will, rolling up 226 first-half yards, missing only when he overthrew a receiver, and that wasn't often.
In the second half he threw touchdown passes of 21 and 20 yards, and ran for another 1-yard touchdown.
By game's end he completed 19 of 21 passes for 323 yards, and rushed for 41 yards.
"I'm embarrassed," co-defensive coordinator Joe DeForest said. "This is not how West Virginia defenses play."
DeForest said six freshmen were in the lineup, but he did not intend that to be an excuse.
"We're searching. We're running across different problems every week," he said.
Klein also most assuredly leapfrogged Smith in the race for the Heisman Trophy.
Smith and the offense could not get past the 50 until 7:23 mark of the third quarter.
Smith threw his first interception of the season on his first pass attempt of the second half.
Arthur Brown picked it off at the West Virginia 24 -- tipped by a teammate -- ending a streak that dated to Dec. 1, 2011.
Klein turned around to score in two plays, putting his team up, 38-7.
Klein led another scoring drive and Smith turned it over again, throwing into the hands of Ty Zimmerman.
Smith finished 21 of 32 for 143 yards and two interceptions.
"We reached our low," Smith said. "I've never had to deal with adversity of this magnitude."
The West Virginia offense was hamstrung by getting just three first-half possessions, but did little with them.
They struggled with run-blocking and pass-protecting and got off 20 plays for 74 total yards as the Wildcats' ball-control style used 20 minutes, 34 seconds of possession time.
The boos rained down from the stands as West Virginia's offense punted for a third time, with less than eight minutes to play in the first half.
Tavon Austin briefly breathed life into West Virginia, returning a kickoff 100 yards for a score with 4:13 to play. But that brought the defense back onto the field.
Klein went 78 yards on eight plays in 3:50 on a drive that included a 44-yard gain on a deep pass to Tyler Lockett.
First Published October 21, 2012 12:00 am