Kendall Continues To Be His Own Worst Critic
LAWRENCE, KANSAS–Austin Kendall has been a member of the Mountaineer football team for less than 10 months, but we’ve already learned he is rarely satisfied with his own performance.
After West Virginia’s 29-24 victory at Kansas Saturday, the Mountaineers improved to 3-1 under first-year coach Neal Brown.
But Kendall, who transferred from Oklahoma to WVU this past January to play for Brown, still recalled far more of the bad than the good moments after walking off the Memorial Stadium field with the victory in hand.
“After that the first drive, we got slowed down,” said the junior quarterback. “We didn’t really do much in the passing game, I felt like. I missed a couple throws, but we actually got the running game going. That’s a plus, and it will complement the passing game in the long run.”
Kendall completed 25-of-37 passes for 202 yards against KU. He didn’t throw a touchdown passes, but he also didn’t throw an interception, which is the second time in the first four games this season he hasn’t turned the ball over.
His Kansas counterpart, Carter Stanley, actually threw for more yards (275), but he had a critical INT.
Kendall did miss what he thought was a touchdown opportunity to George Campbell early in the fourth quarter. The throw drew a pass interference penalty, but West Virginia’s QB was upset he let the TD chance slip away.
“I was just disappointed I missed him to the outside,” said Kendall. “I was hoping he would run under it, but I overthrew it a little bit. Coach (Neal) Brown was upset with me right there; you can’t overthrow people in that situation.”
The pass interference penalty did give WVU a fresh set of downs and the ball at the Kansas nine, but the Mountaineers’ drive stalled there and they had to settle for a field goal.
That was a theme Kendall didn’t like. In all, West Virginia had nine drives that carried inside the KU 35, but only three of them resulted in touchdowns; three others became field goals.
“We have to finish in the redzone,” he said. “There were four or five times today where we didn’t finish drives like we should have. We missed a field goal, and there were other times we didn’t put points on the board like we should have. That’s on me, that’s on the offensive linemen, that’s on everyone in the offensive room. We have to capitalize once we get in the redzone. Three points isn’t enough.”
Still, Kendall helped engineer a win. He’s thrown for over 200 yards in three of four games this year, and he’s watching a Mountaineer rushing attack, which was limited to an average of 32 yards in the first two games, starting to come to life. WVU ran for 173 yards in last week’s win over N.C. State and then topped that at Kansas with 192 yards on the ground.
“The guys are gelling well right now,” Kendall said of WVU’s running backs. “We’ve got a nice rotation going with our backs, so they all have fresh legs. They’ve got a little edge to them as well. They are running hard and running physical, and I like that.”
Kendall himself found running room a few times. He was sacked three times for a loss of 24 yards by the Jayhawks, but he had six other carries that went for 32 positive yards.
“There were a couple more times I should have kept it, but I didn’t,” he said of his read options. “I was trying to get into the feel and flow of the game. If there are opportunities to run the ball, I’m going to do it.”
Kendall has WVU 3-1 on the season, but he still believes he and his Mountaineer offense are capable of much more.