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Kansas State vs. WVU score: Mountaineer defense looks clueless in first half

West Virginia did get on the board in the second quarter thanks to a kick return for a touchdown by Tavon Austin, but the Mountaineers were otherwise thoroughly dominated by Kansas State, which leads 31-7 at the half.

As I wrote last week when WVU faced Texas Tech, the Mountaineers' most crucial characteristic isn't its explosive Geno Smith-led offense. It's the fact that they can't play defense at all. Their play in the first half against a very disciplined Kansas State unit showed why. The Mountaineers just don't have any idea what's happening to them. Against the run, they fail to pick up which way the ball is going and charge in the wrong direction, leaving wide-open holes. Against the pass, they're even worse, as they'll bite on any tiny move from a wide receiver, who will then be free to start streaking through the secondary and into the open field. It got so bad that, in Kansas State's last drive, the Wildcats simply had Collin Klein, who isn't a particularly accurate passer, just chuck the ball downfield. That normally isn't his strength at all, and Kansas State was already up by 17, but with receivers that open, hey, why not? (Klein, by the way, is 14-for-16 with 226 yards and a touchdown. That's the sort of line Geno Smith is supposed to put up.)

In any case, the Mountaineers are floundering against a relentlessly competent team. If they can make a game of this one, it will qualify as a minor miracle.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.