West Virginia football falls to the bottom of the Big 12 Conference after Iowa State trounced the Mountaineers 31-14 inside the Cyclones’ Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday.
Iowa State’s top-ranked defense stifled the Mountaineer offense, holding them to just two touchdowns and 200 yards of total offense. The Cyclone offense, on the other hand, found a rhythm after a slow start, scoring 21 points in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
“The story of our game was the inability of our offense to move the ball at all,” said WVU coach Neal Brown. “The stats are putrid. We gave ourselves no chance to win the game. Credit Iowa State, they’re really good on defense.”
The game started with four straight punts as neither team could find its offensive footing. Iowa State broke the streak with a field goal in the closing minutes of the first quarter.
Hunter Dekkers threw the game’s first touchdown to DeShawn Hanika in the second quarter, putting ISU up by two possessions. That was Dekkers’s first of two touchdowns in the game, as he found Xavier Hutchinson at the outset of the fourth quarter for a 24-yard touchdown.
Dekkers finished the game 24-of-36 for 219 yards with the scores.
JT Daniels and Bryce Ford-Wheaton connected in the final minute of the first half to give WVU its first score of the game and cut the deficit to a field goal before halftime. Daniels completed just eight of his 22 attempts in the game for 81 yards — 25 of which were on that touchdown throw.
That three-point margin persisted until the start of the fourth quarter. The Mountaineers forced the Cyclones to punt on the second play of the period and were about to start a drive on their own 26 until Reese Smith was flagged for roughing the kicker, giving the Cyclones a first down.
That gave ISU the life it needed to take control, as Dekkers found Hutchinson in the end zone four plays later.
ISU’s ground attack took off after that, totaling 89 yards in that period alone as Cartevious Norton found the soft spots in the WVU defense. Norton scored twice in the quarter and finished with 69 yards on 16 carries.
WVU’s battered run game struggled to move the ball at all. Justin Johnson Jr. was the only running back to see the field for WVU and carried the ball 12 times for 48 yards, while the team recorded 76 rushing yards. Garrett Greene was the second-leading rusher with 27 yards.
“To say I am disappointed and frustrated about how we played offensively…that would be taking it lightly,” Brown said.
Greene took over at quarterback for WVU in the final drive and threw WVU’s second touchdown of the game, finishing the series 4-for-5 with 43 yards. He found Sam James in the corner of the end zone from eight yards out.
Iowa State snaps a five-game losing streak and earns its first Big 12 victory of the season with the win. It also jumps WVU in the Big 12 standings for the ninth spot.
WVU drops its third straight game with the loss. The Mountaineers have lost four of their last five with each of those losses coming by double-digits.
West Virginia returns home for its next contest when it hosts Oklahoma on Nov. 12. The Mountaineers will be playing for bowl eligibility, as one more loss on their record would effectively knock them out of contention.