When Kansas University junior James Sims was suspended for the first three games of the 2012 season after a DUI arrest this summer, many wondered if KU's leading rusher from the previous two seasons would lose his featured spot in the Jayhawks' backfield.
Candidates for Game Balls and Gassers against West Virginia ...
If Saturday’s events were an accurate indication, former Heisman Trophy candidate Geno Smith could have won the award by unanimous vote had he faced the Kansas University defense every week. By Tom Keegan
Kansas coach Charlie Weis talks to reporters following the Jayhawks' 59-10 loss to West Virginia on Dec. 1, 2012.
The Kansas football team's defense did not force an incomplete pass from West Virginia starter Geno Smith in its 59-10 loss to West Virginia, and until the Jayhawks can cobble together a better pass defense, they'll continue to lose Big 12 games, writes Journal-World sports editor Tom Keegan.
West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith completed 23 of 24 passes for 407 yards in his final home game, leading the Mountaineers to a 59-10 romp over Kansas on Saturday afternoon in Morgantown, W. Va.
WVU receiver Tavon Austin also added 187 combined rushing and receiving yards, as the Mountaineers racked up 650 yards total and didn't punt until their second-to-last possession with 1:46 left in the fourth quarter.
Dayne Crist started at quarterback for KU but was ineffective, completing 1 of 5 passes for 41 yards. He was replaced in the second quarter by Michael Cummings, who was 6-for-11 for 76 yards.
James Sims led KU in rushing, posting 18 carries for 57 yards with a TD.
KU (1-11, 0-9 Big 12) ends its season after failing to win a conference game for the second straight season.
HOW THEY SCORED
12:14 - Andrew Buie 2 run. Tyler Bitancurt kick. In an attempt to keep the ball out of the hands of all-world return man Tavon Austin, Kansas squibbed the opening kickoff and West Virginia started at its own 32. Eight plays and 68 yards later, the Mountaineers took the early lead, capping a drive that spanned 2:46 and featured a 45-yard bomb from quarterback Geno Smith to receiver Steadman Bailey on the game's first offensive play. (WVU 7, KU 0).
2:08 - Shawne Alston 2 run. Bitancurt kick. The Mountaineers' second scoring drive of the day was awfully similar to their first, as it covered 77 yards in nine plays and 4:07 but also featured a long pass from Smith. This one, a 50-yard bomb to J.D. Woods set WVU up at the Kansas 30 yard line and came when KU senior Greg Brown fell down in coverage just before the ball arrived. (WVU 14, KU 0).
11:34 - Steadman Bailey 8 pass from Geno Smith. Bitancurt kick. The Mountaineers looked more like themselves on their third scoring drive, striking quickly with a five-play, 61-yard march that took just 1:41. Smith hit Bailey three times for 23 yards and Tavon Austin kicked it all off with an explosive 31-yard run. (WVU 21, KU 0).
7:05 - James Sims 1 run. Nick Prolago kick. KU's first scoring drive of the day featured eight runs and one pass, but that pass, a bomb from Michael Cummings to tailback Tony Pierson, set the Jayhawks up with a first-and-10 at the WVU 16. Three plays later, Sims plowed in from a yard out to put KU on the board. The long pass to Pierson was challenged by West Virginia, but replay officials ruled that Pierson was in the field of play when he caught the ball. (WVU 21, KU 7).
3:29 - Alston 1 run. Bitancurt kick. Another methodical WVU drive that featured another long pass gave the home team its fourth TD of the first half. This pass, a 44-yarder from Smith to Austin, came on third-and-three in West Virginia territory. . (WVU 28, KU 7).
0:24 - J.D. Woods 8 pass from Smith. Bitancurt kick. The Jayhawks had a chance to salt away the first-half game clock, but knocked just 54 seconds off after a three-and-out, leaving WVU with 2:34 and plenty of time to march down the field for its fifth TD of the first half. The drive covered 65 yards and six plays and took 2:11. (WVU 35, KU 7).
9:11 - Tyler Bitancurt 30 field goal. West Virginia's touchdown streak came to an end on the Mountaineers' first drive of the second half, which was aided by a late pass interference call on JaCorey Shepherd on a deep ball intended for Bailey. The 15-yard penalty moved WVU into KU territory, and, four plays later, the Mountaineers settled for three. (WVU 38, KU 7).
6:02 - Bailey 16 pass from Smith. Bitancurt kick. West Virginia's quick-strike offense showed up again on this drive, as the Mountaineers moved 74 yards in just three plays and 54 seconds. The big play on the drive came from tailback Andrew Buie, who caught a screen pass from Smith and raced by the entire KU defense before Greg Brown pushed him out inside the 20. (WVU 45, KU 7).
1:31 - Austin 1 run. Bitancurt kick. Although Austin rarely got loose during this one, he did finally factor into the scoring, carrying the load on the final two snaps of this seven-play, 82-yard drive that took 2:23. (WVU 52, KU 7).
9:01 - Nick Prolago 32 field goal. KU methodically took the ball down the field on this 15-play, 60-yard drive, as no play on the drive was longer than eight yards. Prolago snuck his kick inside the left upright for his fifth straight made field goal this year. (WVU 52, KU 10).
5:13 - Dustin Garrison 26 run. WVU senior quarterback Geno Smith received one final ovation at home, as he was checked out of the game during this drive. The Mountaineers went 84 yards on eight plays, with Garrison cutting his TD run back to the left side on his 26-yard score. (WVU 59, KU 10).