Following an ugly loss to Missouri last week, the West Virginia football team turned the page on Saturday afternoon, defeating NC State 44-27. 

“It mirrors life in so many different ways,” West Virginia head coach Neal Brown said. “It’s not when you get knocked down, it’s how you respond and I’m so proud of not only our players but our staff and how they responded this week.”

The Mountaineers struck first on the day with a Sam James 20-yard touchdown catch with nine minutes remaining in the first quarter. It only took West Virginia five plays and 66 yards to notch their first points of the day. The drive included a 24-yard strike to Sean Ryan to keep the drive alive. 

NC State quarterback Matt McKay then drove the Wolfpack down the field for an 8-yard Thayer Thomas touchdown catch to knot the score at 7-7. Josh Norwood was disqualified on the second snap of the drive for targeting Thomas on an incomplete pass. 

The first West Virginia rushing touchdown of the season took three games as Kennedy McKoy rushed in from 23 yards out in the second quarter for the seven point, 14-7 advantage.

Unlike the first two games of the season, the Mountaineers were able to run the ball with ease on Saturday as McKoy led the running backs with 66 yards and a pair of touchdowns while Leddie Brown also chipped into the effort with a touchdown and 35 yards. 

“Offensively, we got our run game going,” Brown said. "I thought our communication was really good up front and I thought our running backs ran the ball extremely hard.” 

Jordan Houston sparked the second quarter Wolfpack scoring attack after the freshman rushed in from one yard out to knot the score for the second time on the day, 14-14. Ricky Person Jr. set up the NC State touchdown after gaining 37 yards on the ground on five rushes during the drive. 

The Wolfpack didn’t take their first lead of the day until three minutes remained in the second quarter as Thomas sent an 18-yard touchdown to Cary Angeline on a double pass trick play and the 21-14 lead.

West Virginia (2-1) was able to take back the lead on the opening drive of the second half as Evan Staley nailed a 23-yard field goal which was set up by Kendall tossing 66 passing yards through the drive. 

Besides a lone interception thrown by Kendall in the third quarter, the Oklahoma transfer was able to move the ball while going 27 for 40 on pass attempts as well as throwing for 272 yards and three touchdowns. 

McKoy padded the Mountaineer lead with a 5-yard rushing touchdown with six minutes remaining in the third quarter for the 31-21 West Virginia advantage. 

NC State (2-1) was then able to add two field goals, narrowing the gap.

WVU then stretched their lead to 11 points in the fourth quarter following an Ali Jennings 9-yard touchdown reception. 

Leddie Brown then concluded the Mountaineer scoring with a 3-yard touchdown run to extend the score to 44-27. 

Three separate Mountaineers caught touchdowns on the day including James, who went for 155 yards. Jennings totaled 28 yards and a touchdown and George Campbell was able to score his third touchdown of the season on only four receptions. 

West Virginia will hit the road to take on Kansas next Saturday at 4:30 p.m. in hopes of continuing their dominance.