Leddie Brown rushed for a career-high 195 yards and scored two touchdowns Saturday as West Virginia smothered Kansas 38-17 at Morgantown, W.Va., in Big 12 play.
Fans were allowed into Milan-Puskar Stadium for the first time this coronavirus-plagued season and the West Virginia defense responded with a dominant performance.
It helped overturn an early Kansas lead by allowing just 157 yards, with five sacks among 11 tackles for loss. The Mountaineers (3-1, 2-1 Big 12) permitted just two third-down conversions on 13 tries.
Quarterback Jarret Doege started slow, but the Bowling Green transfer passed for 318 yards and three touchdowns as West Virginia handed Kansas (0-4, 0-3) its 51st consecutive conference road defeat.
Brown burst 87 yards for a third-quarter touchdown among his 18 carries. Defensive ends Jeffery Pooler and Akheem Mesidor each recorded two sacks.
Although he was cleared to travel after previously testing positive for COVID-19, Kansas coach Les Miles stayed home and appointed assistant Joshua Eargle as acting head coach.
Miles Kendrick became the Jayhawks’ third starting quarterback in four games. He never looked comfortable, connecting on 14 of 23 passes for just 95 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Reigning All-Big 12 back Pooka Williams providing just 21 rushing yards on 11 carries but scored on a 92-yard kickoff return with 1:45 remaining.
The Jayhawks enjoyed a good start, converting a fumble recovery into Jacob Borcila’s 41-yard field goal and adding a 43-yard touchdown strike from Kendrick to Andrew Parchment for a 10-0 lead before six minutes had elapsed.
Linebacker Denzel Feaster forced a fumble but was ejected later in the half for targeting. Parchment’s score came off a deflection on a ball West Virginia cornerback Nicktroy Fortune could have intercepted.
The Jayhawks maintained the lead until 3:25 remained in the first half when Doege hit Brown with a 6-yard touchdown lob to cap a 91-yard march. The Mountaineers struck for their first TD, a 33-yard deep ball to Bryce Ford-Wheaton, following a turnover and two punts on their first three series.
Evan Staley added a 33-yard field goal with 16 seconds left to give West Virginia a 17-10 halftime lead.