Austin Kendall 9/14/19

September 14, 2019: West Virginia quarterback Austin Kendall throws a pass against NC State.

West Virginia came back from a double-digit second half deficit to beat the Army Black Knights, 24-21, in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee on New Year's Eve. 

WVU’s receiving issues continued as the wide receivers combined for 11 drops. Quarterback Jarret Doege went 15-of-25 for 159 yards, a touchdown and an interception in the first half before he was benched in favor of Austin Kendall. 

Kendall then went on to lead the Mountaineers to a victory while going 8-for-17 for 121 yards and two touchdowns.

The Mountaineer defense held the Black Knights to 182 rushing yards and 239 total yards. Army had been averaging over 300 yards per game on the ground during the regular season. 

Leddie Brown was held to just 20 carries for 65 rushing yards, but he eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season. 

The Black Knights started the second half off with a 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that took eight minutes off the clock.

The Mountaineers followed Army’s drive with an 80-yard touchdown drive of their own. West Virginia then successfully got a surprise onside kick, but went three-and-out and had to punt. 

With five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Kendall found T.J. Simmons in the endzone for a 20-yard touchdown to take a one-point lead. An end-around run to Reese Smith on the two-point conversion attempt gave the Mountaineers a three-point lead. 

Following the score, the kickoff went out of bounds placing the Black Knights at their own 35-yard line. Army took a shot on second down and threw the ball for only the second time of the game, this one resulting in a 32-yard completion. 

With two minutes remaining, Army attempted a 39-yard field goal that sailed wide left to hold the Mountaineers in the lead at 24-21. Following a WVU three-and-out, Army had one final opportunity to steal the victory. 

With time against them, the Black Knights were forced to go to the air. It ended in an interception by Josh Chandler-Semedo to seal the win for the Mountaineers. 

This is West Virginia's first bowl win since it won the Cactus Bowl in 2015 and first bowl victory under head coach Neal Brown. After a 5-7 season in 2019, Brown took the Mountaineers to a 6-4 record in his second season in Morgantown. 

Asst. Sports Editor

Born in Cleveland, Ohio and attending WVU, I study sports journalism and work with U92 sports talk radio, the WVU football team video crew, and the DA sports writing along with the DA sports podcast.