Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

No. 12 Kansas State at West Virginia

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

No. 12 Kansas State at West Virginia

Article excerpt

MANHATTAN -- The common denominator in the two losses for Kansas State's football team is the running game, or the lack of a running game.

The Wildcats average 157.3 rushing yards a game, a figure that ranks No. 5 in the Big 12, but in their two losses they were ground to a halt: 40 yards on 30 carries by Auburn and 34 yards on 19 attempts at TCU.

"We used this bye week to focus on establishing the run," tailback Charles Jones said Tuesday. "That's a big part of our offense so we took it personally that we couldn't get it going in the TCU game. I can't really explain it. We had a lot of problems as a whole team offensively."

The Wildcats -- No. 12 in the College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday -- averaged 191.7 yards in their seven victories with three 200-yard games. Their lowest yardage total in those games was 134 against Oklahoma State.

The rushing attack has suffered since quarterback Jake Waters injured his shoulder in the Oklahoma game, limiting his use carrying the ball.

Tailbacks Jones and DeMarcus Robinson average 47.8 and 39.2 yards a game, respectively, with Waters at 45.1. That's good balance, but neither Jones nor Robinson have been able to establish themselves as a primary threat.

"We're so far into the season, I don't think it's going to happen," coach Bill Snyder said. "I would like for one to step up so you have a distinct number one and distinct number two, but that hasn't happened. They've both played at about the same pace, and I don't see that changing over the course of the rest of the year."

K-State plays at West Virginia at 6 p.m. Thursday (Fox Sports 1), facing a Mountaineer defense that ranks No. 8 against the run in the Big 12, giving up 181.5 yards a game.

"They are a real physical and athletic defense but with our offensive line, I think we can establish the run if we fix the mistakes we had in the TCU game," Jones said. "It has to be a team effort, not just me or DeMarcus. As a whole, we have to block a little better, run a little harder. That can happen, but it has to be a team effort for that to happen.

"The two games we lost are the two games we really struggled with the running game. …

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