Sept. 2, 2006
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia's Steve Slaton rushed for a game-high 203 yards and two touchdowns, as the fifth-ranked Mountaineers defeated the Marshall Thundering Herd 42-10 Saturday in the Friends of Coal Bowl at Milan Puskar Stadium.
The game marked the only sixth meeting all-time between the schools in 96 years. It is only the second meeting since Marshall moved to NCAA Division I-A status in 1997.
WVU quarterback Patrick White led the Mountaineers (1-0) with 168 yards on 10-of-14 passing with two touchdowns. White also rushed for 48 yards on seven carries. Marshall quarterback Bernard Morris (Orlando, Fla./Jones) completed 12-of-22 passing for 168 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
On the ground, the Herd (0-1) was led by Doak Walker Award candidate Ahmad Bradshaw (Bluefield, Va./Graham), rushing 18 times for 70 yards. Chubb Small (Auburndale, Fla./Hargrave) added 39 yards on five carries, while Morris rushed eight times for 37 yards.
Senior Matt Morris (Beckley, W.Va./Woodrow Wilson) led all receivers with three catches for a game-high 63 yards and one touchdown. True freshman Cody Slate (Chatham, Va./Hargrave) added three catches for 57 yards.
Defensively, Albert McClellan (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland) had a game-high nine tackles, while Matt Couch (Okeana, Ohio/Ross Senior) and Josh Johnson (Milledgeville, Ga./Georgia Military) added eight tackles each.
"I was not happy with this game," Marshall head coach Mark Snyder
said. "We need to get back on the winning side. I am happy there weren't as many turnovers, but I'm not happy with the tackling.
"Our offense started slow and couldn't get off because they weren't on the field a lot. It seemed like the defense was out there all day long."
Marshall's first possession began at its own 35-yard line, aided by a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty on WVU after the opening kickoff. However, the Herd was unable to produce anything on its opening drive.
West Virginia started its first drive on its own 48-yard line after a 22-yard punt by Ian O'Connor (Knoxville, Tenn./Halls). WVU drove 52 yards on seven plays in 2:16 to take a 7-0 lead. White connected on an eight-yard touchdown strike to Brandon Myles to cap the WVU scoring drive.
WVU extended their lead to 14-0 later in the first quarter on Slaton's 14-yard touchdown scamper around the right side.
West Virginia added to its lead six minutes later, 21-0. The Mountaineers engineered a 12-play, 96-yard drive capped off by Myles' second touchdown catch of the game.
The Herd responded with its first score of the game, marching 65 yards on seven plays in 2:27 to cut the WVU lead to 14 points, 21-7. Bernard Morris connected with senior wide receiver Matt Morris on a 21-yard touchdown pass in the back of the end zone. The play was originally ruled incomplete, but after a Marshall challenge, the play was reversed for the touchdown.
On the ensuing WVU possession, the Mountaineers regained a three touchdown advantage with a 16-yard scoring run from Slaton - his second of the game. WVU's eight-play, 80-yard scoring drive gave the Mountaineers a 28-7 lead.
The Mountaineers had another chance to score prior to the end of the first half, but Curtis Keyes (Mt. Olive, Miss./Mize) blocked Scot Kozlowski's 44-yard field goal attempt.
The Herd defense forced the WVU offense to punt on its first possession of the second half. Marshall's offense was able to push the ball downfield into Mountaineer territory, until Morris was intercepted by Quinton Andrews at the WVU 20-yard line.
Marshall chipped away at the Mountaineer lead thanks to a 43-yard field goal by junior kicker Anthony Binswanger (Pleasant Hill, Calif./Diablo Valley CC). Binswanger's first career field goal trimmed the score to 35-10 with 1:45 remaining in the third quarter.
WVU added a pair of touchdowns in the second half, including one in each quarter to take the 42-10 victory.
The Marshall Thundering Herd opens its 2006 home schedule Saturday, Sept. 9 against the Hofstra Pride at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. (EST).
MARSHALL POSTGAME NOTES
* Saturday's game between the Marshall Thundering Herd and the No. 5-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers was only the sixth meeting in 96 years. It is only the second meeting since Marshall moved to NCAA Division I-A status in 1997. Marshall is 0-6 all-time against the Mountaineers.
* Saturday marked the first game in the Friends of Coal Bowl, a seven-year series between the state's only Division I-A schools. Next year, the game moves to Huntington on Sept. 8 and in 2008, the game will return to Morgantown on Sept. 13.
* Since 1976, it was the Herd's 13th meeting against a nationally-ranked Division I-A opponent. The Herd is 3-10 all-time against ranked opponents and 2-10 on the road.
* Sophomore receiver Emmanuel Spann (Atlanta, Ga./Westlake) made his return to the Herd starting lineup after sitting out the 2005 season with a knee injury. It was his first catch since the 2004 PlainsCapital Fort Worth Bowl.
* Senior Matt Morris (Beckley, W.Va./Woodrow Wilson) caught his first career touchdown catch in the second quarter - a 21-yard strike from Bernard Morris.
* Morris' touchdown catch was originally ruled incomplete, but was challenged by Marshall head coach Mark Snyder, the first play challenged by Marshall since the institution of Instant Replay. After further review, the call was reversed, giving the Herd a touchdown.
* Junior Anthony Binswanger (Pleasant Hill, Calif./Diablo Valley CC) made his first career field goal at the Division I level. Binswanger, who played his freshman season at Cal, did not attempt a field goal for the Golden Bears.