West Virginia overcomes obstacles to beat rival Marshall, 24-7
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- West Virginia overcame the loss of its starting quarterback and a subsequent sputtering on offense, enough to get past in-state rival Marshall, defeating the Thundering Herd, 24-7, today at a dreary and damp Mountaineer Field.
West Virginia played most of the game without starting quarterback Jarrett Brown, who left early with an undisclosed injury after absorbing a big hit.
Brown's exact injury, and status for this week's game against Connecticut, is unknown.
He was replaced by freshman Geno Smith the rest of the way.
West Virginia struggled mightily in the first half without Brown, as Marshall jumped to a 7-3 halftime lead.
The Thundering Herd scored first, with 5:20 remaining in the first quarter, when quarterback Brian Anderson rambled in from 12 yards.
The Mountaineers -- who turned the ball over twice in the first half -- could only muster a Tyler Bitancurt 32-yard field goal with 44 seconds left before halftime.
West Virginia got it together in the second half, scoring an early third quarter touchdown when running back Noel Devine jetted in from 14 yards to put his team ahead, 10-7.
The Mountaineers extended the lead to 17-7 when Smith threw a perfect ball to Alric Arnett deep in the end zone that went for a 33-yard touchdown on the fifth play of the fourth quarter.
Devine iced it with a 9-yard score with 3:43 remaining to make it 24-7.
Brown's injury provided the scariest moment of the Mountaineers' season.
He left the game at the tail end of his team's first offensive series when he was felled by a legal, helmet-to-helmet hit from Marshall defensive back Ashton Hall.
With 13:34 remaining in the first quarter, Brown turned upfield when the pocket broke down, gained yardage but was then walloped by Hall. Brown also fumbled after the hard hit; a fumble that was recovered by Marshall.
Brown went to the ground hard, remaining there for about 3 minutes as he was attended to by West Virginia medical staff.
He walked off the field, but was visibly wobbly.
On West Virginia's second offensive series, Smith took over.
As Smith entered the game, Brown stood on the West Virginia sideline with a jacket draped over his shoulders. He remained there the rest of the game.
First Published October 17, 2009 6:46 pm