"I want four wins," nose guard Shaq Rowell said.
The Mountaineers created and escaped trouble early in the second half. Trickett was sacked and fumbled at his 22. Receiver Ronald Carswell fell on top of the ball, but slid over it and KSU (3-4, 1-3) recovered. The offense moved inside WVU's 10, but linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski forced a fumble that rolled into the end zone and was recovered by safety Karl Joseph, who forced a fumble earlier.
Trickett threw a short screen to Kevin White, who broke a tackle and found a block for a 43-yard gain to KSU's 37, but the Mountaineers settled for a 50-yard field goal for a 12-7 lead. They followed that with a punt, a lost fumble and a turnover on downs.
"I don't think we played very well the whole game," offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson said. "We did some good things in the first half, but in the third quarter we ran five plays. When you get the ball against a team like Kansas State, and you know they're going to sit on the ball, you've got to take advantage of it and we just didn't. We ran five plays in the third quarter and in the fourth quarter we were completely not executing plays."
Playing on Homecoming after an open week, KSU trailed 9-7 at halftime with only 142 yards of offense, a meaningful score because the Wildcats have won the last 39 games they've led at halftime. It's the fourth-longest streak in the country.
They took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when Waters subbed in for Sams on a third-and-15 at the WVU 35. A weak pass rush gave Lockett the time he needed to work past cornerback Ishmael Banks and get behind safety Darwin Cook for a touchdown.
Outside of that play, KSU had just four other first downs and averaged 4.5 yards per play in the first half. WVU's defense created one turnover at its 22 and forced four punts, two on three-and-outs.
It was still a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, and that was not without meaning, either. In Holgorsen's 13 losses entering the game, he trailed at the end of the first quarter 12 times and had been shut out six times while being outscored 154-41. Add another deficit, another shutout and another seven points to the opposition after Saturday.
The Mountaineers, who battled field position because Nick O'Toole's punts into the wind averaged 33.5 yards in the first quarter, finally flipped the field to start the second quarter. A pair of first downs and O'Toole's punt pushed KSU back to its 6 and the Wildcats could only punt it back to midfield.
Dreamius Smith ran for 11 yards and Jordan Thompson held on for a 13-yard gain despite a thunderous hit from Zimmerman to set up first-and-goal at the 8. Trickett ended the drive with a six-yard touchdown run, but the extra point was blocked.
The Wildcats punted again and WVU avoided disaster when the punt return team somehow managed to avoid a bouncing punt in a crowd that was downed at the 17. A 50-yard pass with the wind to Carswell moved the Mountaineers to the KSU 6, but two runs gained two yards and a third-down pass fell incomplete before Josh Lambert's 21-yard field goal.
KSU went three-and-out again and a 13-yard reception by White and a 13-yard run by Sims on back-to-back plays gave WVU a first down at the Wildcats 12. On fourth-and-7, the Mountaineers decided to line up for a field goal, but fake it and let holder Michael Molinari run the ball. He gained four yards and KSU took the turnover on downs and ran out the rest of the half.
The decision to fake the field goal was made on the field and not the sideline.
"Every is my call. It was there," Holgorsen said. "We had first-and-5 on the 5 and it was disturbing, and there are a lot of things that are disturbing that we do offensively. We had to settle for a field goal, which is fine, but we had the look (the first time) that we wanted, so the next time that we went out there, if it was there we had to communicate it. We obviously did not get through to Mike what we needed to get through to him."
An eventful first half for the special teams was seemingly appropriate. The game captains were O'Toole, Lambert, Molinari and snapper John DePalma.