Morgantown, WV (Sports Network) - Geno Smith threw for 323 yards and four
touchdowns and added another score on the ground, as the 11th-ranked West
Virginia Mountaineers started the season with a 69-34 rout of the Marshall
Smith completed 32-of-36 passes and carried the ball eight times for 65 yards
for the Mountaineers (1-0), who racked up 655 yards of total offense. Paul
Millard also threw a touchdown pass.
Shawne Alston carried the ball 16 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns for
West Virginia, which played its first game as a member of the Big 12
Conference. Stedman Bailey led the receiving corps with nine catches for 104
yards and two scores.
Rakeem Cato connected on 38-of-54 passes for 413 yards, two touchdowns and an
interception for the Thundering Herd (0-1). Travon Van carried the ball 16
times for 38 yards and two scores.
The Mountaineers scored a touchdown on their first offensive possession and
never looked back. Alston's nine-yard run combined with a 15-yard personal
foul on Marshall set up West Virginia at the 33. Two plays later, Smith rolled
to his right and found Bailey in the end zone for a 32-yard score. Tyler
Bitancurt missed the extra point.
West Virginia made it a 13-0 contest on its next drive. J.D. Woods caught
passes of 22 and 11 yards to put the ball at the Marshall 6-yard line. Alston
capped the eight-play march with a three-yard TD run.
After forcing another punt from the Thundering Herd, the Mountaineers marched
down the field again. The home team decided to go for it on 4th-and-goal from
the 3-yard line. But Smith was stopped on a quarterback sneak with seven
seconds left in the first stanza.
Marshall's offense fed off the stop and put together a 14-play, 98-yard
scoring drive. On 3rd-and-7, Eric Frohnapfel caught a 24-yard pass to get the
ball past midfield. Van's 16-yard run and Aaron Dobson's 12-yard catch
preceded Van's four-yard TD run, which cut the gap to 13-7.
But it was all West Virginia from that point on. Smith completed three
straight passes before Andrew Buie rushed for 18 and 24 yards, with the latter
resulting in a score.
After Justin Haig made a 34-yard field goal to make it 20-10, Tavon Austin
caught a six-yard TD pass from Smith. Austin started the three-play drive with
a 70-yard run.
Woods caught a nine-yard TD pass with one minute left before the half, making
it a 34-10 contest.
Alston and Smith recorded rushing touchdowns around Van's three-yard TD run in
the third period. Isaiah Bruce returned a fumble 43 yards for a score and Haig
made a 29-yard field goal to cap the scoring in the frame.
In the fourth, Bailey and K.J. Myers scored for the Mountaineers to make it a
69-20 game. Tommy Shuler and Frohnapfel caught TD passes for Marshall to
account for the final margin.
WVU leads the all-time series by a 12-0 margin ... West Virginia's 69 points
were the most ever scored by the Mountaineers in a season-opening game ...
West Virginia holds an all-time record of 97-29-4 in season openers and
95-18-6 in home openers ... Smith's fourth quarter, five-yard touchdown pass
to Bailey pushed his career total to 60, and he now owns the WVU career
touchdown passes record ... Marshall offensive lineman Garrett Scott was
carted off field with a left leg injury in the second quarter.