- Associated Press - Saturday, October 4, 2014

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) - West Virginia got some welcome balance on offense against Kansas as the Mountaineers prepare to enter a tough stretch of the Big 12 schedule.

Clint Trickett threw for 302 yards and a touchdown, Mario Alford returned a kickoff 94 yards for a score and West Virginia beat the Jayhawks 33-14 on Saturday.

Rushel Shell ran for 113 yards as West Virginia compiled 255 yards on the ground. Both were season highs.

West Virginia jumped ahead 26-0 at halftime and cruised from there.

“I was excited how we were moving the ball,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. “We just didn’t finish drives very good. Then it got frustrating in the second half and it probably has a little bit to do with them being a pretty good dang defense.”

Kansas (2-3, 0-2) managed little offense in the debut for interim head coach Clint Bowen, who took over after Charlie Weis was fired on Sunday. The Jayhawks were held to 176 totals yards and nine first downs.

Kansas lost its 26th straight road game. The busiest player for the Jayhawks was Trevor Pardula, who punted 14 times.

Kansas quarterback Montell Cozart, who had four interceptions in a 23-0 loss to Texas last week, couldn’t move the offense again and played only the first half. Two other quarterbacks had no better luck in the second half.

“I think we took a step in the right direction,” Bowen said. “Our players showed up in a difficult week.”

The Mountaineers (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) got the expected results against a heavy underdog and now have three of their next five games on the road in Texas, starting next Saturday at Texas Tech. Three of those opponents are ranked - No. 7 Baylor, No. 21 Oklahoma State and No. 25 TCU.

“Next week’s going to be a whole different deal,” Holgorsen said. “They’re going to throw the ball all over the place and we’re going to have to get guys in position that are able to get to the quarterback.”

West Virginia amassed 557 yards of offense but its special teams had an up and down day.

After the Mountaineers’ Jordan Thompson fumbled a punt on his 18 that led to a short touchdown run by the Jayhawks’ Corey Avery, Alford took the ensuing kickoff down the right sideline for a score to put West Virginia ahead 33-7 late in the third quarter.

Late in the game, the Jayhawks’ Nick Harwell returned a punt 76 yards for a TD, the third straight game that West Virginia’s special teams allowed a score.

The margin of victory could have been much greater. West Virginia had another field goal attempt blocked and Dustin Garrison fumbled the ball away at the Kansas 5 following a 28-yard run.

Trickett completed 20 of 35 passes with an interception. Several of his incompletions were long throws. Alford and Kevin White both let passes go off their hands in the end zone, resulting in two of Josh Lambert’s three first-quarter field goals.

White got loose in single coverage late in the quarter and Trickett found him in stride for a 63-yard TD for a 16-0 lead. White finished with six catches for 132 yards and matched Stedman Bailey’s school record of five straight games with 100 receiving yards.

“I can’t imagine there’s going to be a better wide receiver in the conference,” Bowen said.

White was angry at himself not catching more passes.

“(I) should have made a lot more plays today,” he said. “Everything that came to me (I) should of caught. “I think I had a bad game.”

Alford turned a screen pass into a 39-yard gain late in the second quarter, leading to Shell’s short TD run. Lambert, who earlier had field goals of 42, 25 and 43 yards, capped the first-half scoring with a 53-yarder as time expired.

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