MORGANTOWN - For the final time at Milan Puskar Stadium, Senior Mountaineers shined in route to a 59-10 victory of the Kansas Jayhawks.
A group of 21 seniors had their names introduced for the first and last time in their WVU careers. And after they trotted out of the tunnel, they ensured one final victory in front of the home crowd.
"I'm excited about the way we finished," said head coach Dana Holgorsen. "They had a tremendous amount of fun out there. So glad that [the seniors] went out on top."
An all-around good game on all three sides of the ball had Mountaineer players dancing on the sidelines as the fourth quarter winded down.
A strong start for the Mountaineers (7-5) had the team rolling. Scoring on five of the six possessions in the first half, they jumped out to the lead and never looked back.
Each of those drives saw big plays made my individual Mountaineers. The very first play of the game was a 45-yard bomb to Stedman Bailey, which later set up a two-yard rush from Andrew Buie for a score.
Later it was a 50-yard complete to J.D. Woods down the field, the longest reception of his career. Other drives saw completions to Tavon Austin for 44 and 32-yards, and Bailey had catches of 19 and 20-yards.
The only possession WVU didn't score occurred on a drive where Geno Smith threw his sixth interception of the season. It was the only pass he didn't complete in the entire game. By the end of 60 minutes, Smith racked up 407 throwing yards on 23-of-24 throwing. It is his highest completion percentage in his career.
"I really challenge myself every game to not throw any incompletions," said Smith. "I try not to let that ball hit the ground because every play is critical and every down counts."
Smith set a school record with 21 straight completions following his interception.
In the second half, Austin and Bailey each took turns scoring touchdowns. They also flashed a couple Heisman poses to go along with them. It seems unlikely that either has a chance to win the trophy, but statistically, these are two of the best players in all of college football.
Tavon finished the day with 180 all-purpose yards. He was second on the team in both rushing and receiving. He had 77-yards on the ground, and 110-yards receiving.
His partner Bailey led the team with 159 receiving yards on 11 catches. On his first touchdown catch, he reached 100 receptions on the year, joining Austin in the category. Bailey is a Biletnikoff Award finalist, which recognizes the best wide receiver in college football.
Leading the team in rushing was Andrew Buie, who totaled 100 rushing yards. Overall, the team had 240 rushing yards on the day.
The defense played one of the best games of the season. With the exception of two pass plays of just over 40-yards, they stopped the Jayhawks. They came up with multiple three-and-outs which set up the offense in good position.
"They've been improving," said Holgorsen. They just kept playing and ignored what everybody was saying and got better each week."
For now, the Mountaineers will wait to see which bowl calls their name. At the moment, the New Era Pinstrip Bowl at Yankee Stadium seems most likely.