Marshall Falls In Wacky Coal Bowl 34-13


It was a strange ending, but Marshall fell to 0-11 all time against the Mountaineers with a 34-13 loss in a game that was called because of inclement weather in the 4th quarter. 

Marshall’s offense barely saw the field in the first half of action as the Mountaineers have taken a 20-7 lead into the locker room.

Marshall got the scoring started in the first quarter when Andre Booker returned a punt 87 yards giving Marshall an early 7-0 lead. 

“I just seen an open lane,” said Booker.  “It was three big blocks that got me the touchdown.”

WVU responded with a 10 play drive that covered 71 yards that was aided by a Marshall penalty on a critical third and long.  Tyler Bitancurt capped off the drive with a 27 yard field goal making it 7-3.

From then on it seemed like the WVU offense never left the field. 

Marshall had trouble containing the crafting Geno Smith.  Smith was able to elude pressure on several third and long situations to keep the WVU drive alive.  Smith hit Ivan McCartney for a four yard scoring pass to give the Mountaineers a 10-7 lead. 

Following a three and out series from the Thundering Herd, WVU’s offense went back to work.  Geno Smith with a 13 play scoring drive.  Marshall’s defense had its chances to end the series with WVU facing third down conversion attempts of 20 yards, 13 yards, ten yards and nine yards.  However, each time Geno Smith was able to escape the pressure of the Marshall defense and pick up the first down.  Smith capped off the series when he found Stedman Bailey from 15 yards out to make it a 17-7 game. 

Tyler Bitancurt hit from 43 yards out and the Mountaineers were firmly in control 20-7 with 1:55 left in the half.

Marshall’s offense showed signs of life toward the end of the half as Freshman QB Rakeem Cato led The Herd down the field 10 play 72 yard drive that was finished off with a 24 yard Tyler Warner field goal. 

Doc Holliday went into his bag of tricks to start the second half, attempting an unsuccessful onside kick and giving the Mountaineers excellent field position.  Marshall’s defense held and forced the Mountaineers to punt.  On the ensuing WVU drive The Herd defense stopped the Mountaineers on a fourth and less than a yard giving the offense some momentum. 

Marshall started in its best field position of the afternoon on its own 49 yard line and methodically marched down the field.  However the drive sputtered as The Herd drove inside the five yard line.  Tyler Warner connected on a 21 yard field goal to pull Marshall within a touchdown.

That momentum was short lived.  Tavon Austin took the ensuing kickoff 100 yards to pay dirt giving WVU a 14 point lead.

Mother nature would step in at that point.  Severe thunderstorms moved into the area bringing heavy rains, hail and severe lightning, suspending the game for more than three hours.

Coming out of the lengthy delay, Marshall took a shot downfield, but Cato overthrew an open Antavious Wilson and two plays later the drive came to a crashing halt when Bruce Irvin got to Cato for the first sack of the true freshman in the game.

WVU wasted no time offensively on the next possession.  The Mountaineers were the quicker and sharper of the two teams coming out of the break.  Geno Smith connected on quick pass after quick pass and marched the Mountaineers down the field.  Bernard Roberts would cap, what would end up being the final drive of the game with a one yard touchdown run, putting the Mountaineers firmly in control with what would end up being the final of 34-13. 

 Marshall finished the game just 187 yards of total offense compared to WVU’s 291. 

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