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Mountaineers will miss bowl

Nov. 17, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- For three long seasons while Kansas lost one Big 12 game after another, James Sims just kept on keeping on, quietly fashioning one of the finest running back careers in school history.

Then on Saturday with Sims rushing for a career-best 211 yards and three TDS in a 31-19 victory over West Virginia, the 27-game conference streak finally came to an end. And the compact senior was beaming.

"It felt amazing. Just looking up at the scoreboard, us on top and them down," he said. "It's a wonderful feeling."

Thousands of fans poured out their pent-up frustrations by storming the field, embracing gleeful players and coaches and tearing down the south goalpost. Right in the middle of the throng, laughing and hugging as much as anybody, was second-year head coach Charlie Weis.

"My enjoyment doesn't come from me," Weis said after his fourth victory in almost two full seasons. "I enjoy watching (the players) have fun. I do enjoy watching the smiles on everyone's faces. My true enjoyment is watching everyone else be happy. And you want to know something? That's pretty nice."

It was not a big crowd that braved winds gusting near 50 MPH to see the Jayhawks (3-7, 1-6 Big 12) win their first conference game since besting Colorado on Nov. 6, 2010. Attendance has been spotty while Kansas fired two coaches and plunged into deep mediocrity after winning the 2008 Orange Bowl. Weis admitted he was "a little surprised" to see so many people run onto the field.

"I turned around and all of them were out there," he said. "Actually, it was kind of nice. It was kind of nice."

Sims broke runs of 62 and 68 yards while Kansas recorded just its second Big 12 win in 40 games and ended any bowl hopes for the Mountaineers (4-7, 2-6).

"I was planning on going to a bowl game," said coach Dana Holgorsen. "We've got to evaluate where we're at. We've got to continue program development."

West Virginia, which wasn't even a Big 12 member when Kansas notched its previous conference win, took a 7-0 lead on its first possession, a long drive against the wind. But the Mountaineers were unable to generate anything more until two meaningless touchdowns with less than 5 minutes to play.

The Jayhawks, who came into the game 117th in the NCAA in total offense and 116th in scoring, rushed for 315 yards against a Mountaineer unit ranked No. 100 in total defense.

The Mountaineers, who were making their first trip to Lawrence, drove 75 yards with their first possession and scored on Charles Sims' 12-yard catch-and-run from Millard. Millard threw a 3-yard touchdown to Kevin White with less than 5 minutes to play. With 28 seconds left, Charles Sims scored on a 6-yard run for the Mountaineers.

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