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(Friday, September 10th)
Final Score: (23) West Virginia 24, Marshall 21 (OT)
Huntington, WV (Sports Network) - Tyler Bitancurt's 20-yard field goal in the first overtime session capped off a furious comeback and led 23rd-ranked West Virginia to a stunning 24-21 comeback win over Marshall in the "Friends of Coal Bowl" in front of the largest crowd ever, 41,382, at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
West Virginia (2-0) overcame a 15-point fourth quarter deficit to tie the game in the final 12 seconds of regulation and won it when kicker Tyler Warner missed a 39-yard kick on the Thundering Herd's lone overtime possession.
Geno Smith completed 32-of-45 passes for 316 yards and a touchdown and Noel Devine ran for 112 yards and a score and caught 10 passes for 62 yards as West Virginia remained unbeaten in 10 all-time meetings with their in-state rival.
Brian Anderson connected on 20-of-29 throws for 229 yards and three scores and Martin Ward ran for 101 yards for Marshall (0-2), which has lost 10 straight games to ranked teams since 2004.
Trailing 21-6 with less than nine minutes left in the game, West Virginia mounted back-to-back 90-plus yard scoring drives to get the game tied.
Marshall freshman running back Tron Martinez fumbled inside the Mountaineers five-yard line and the visitors recovered at the four. Devine then capped a nine-play, 96-yard drive with a four-yard scoring dash around left end to trim the lead to 21-13 with just over five minutes to play.
Marshall picked up one first down on its next possession before punting and pinning the visitors at their own two-yard line with 3:09 left in the game.
Smith kept the final drive alive with a fourth-down completion to Devine that took the ball to the Marshall 20.
The sophomore quarterback was pushed back for a three-yard loss to the Herd five-yard line before scrambling and finding Will Johnson in the back of the end zone for a touchdown toss that sliced the lead to 21-19 with 12 seconds to play.
Smith then found an open Jock Sanders in the back of the end zone for the two- point conversion that leveled the score and forced the extra session.
The Mountaineers had the first opportunity in the extra session and picked up one first down before the drive fizzled at the three. Bitancurt then came on and knocked through his third field goal of the night.
Marshall's three-play drive was snuffed out at the 22 and Warner then had his kick tail wide right to end the game.
"These fans needed that win and we didn't get it and that just kills me," said Marshall head coach Doc Holliday. "It's a 60-minute game and, unfortunately, we didn't play all 60 minutes."
The hosts took the opening kickoff 80 yards on six plays to score the game's first touchdown on an eight-yard catch and run by Antavious Wilson just two minutes and 17 seconds into the contest. The key play on the drive was a 55- yard scamper down the right sideline by Ward.
West Virginia then responded with a nine-play, 42-yard drive that resulted in a 34-yard field goal from Bitancurt that cut the lead to 7-3.
The Thundering Herd then turned the game in their favor by stopping the Mountaineers on 4th-and-1 at their own eight-yard line.
After a penalty sent them back to the four, the Herd struck on the very next play as Anderson threw deep down the middle to Aaron Dobson, who caught the ball in stride, shed a tackle at midfield and raced 96 yards to paydirt to put the hosts ahead 14-3 with 11 minutes left in the half.
"I told them at halftime this reminded me of 2007 when we were down 13-6 here," Mountaineers head coach Bill Stewart said. "Things weren't going very well then and they certainly weren't going very well tonight, either."
West Virginia trimmed the lead to 14-6 on Bitancurt's second field goal of the game, a 33-yarder, with 10 minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Mountaineers bid to draw closer later in the quarter failed after the Herd blocked a field goal attempt and turned it into more points.
Marshall took over at its own 44 with 2 1/2 minutes left in the stanza and scored on the first play of the fourth quarter on Anderson's 12-yard pass to Wilson that made it a 21-6 game.
Holliday was a linebacker at WVU from 1976-78 and earned both his master's degree and doctorate from WVU. He started his coaching career with the Mountaineers as a graduate assistant in 1979 and also also served as wide receiver's coach (1983-89, 1993-99), inside linebackers coach (1990-92) and assistant head coach (1995-99) under Don Nehlen...WVU had won the first nine contests by a combined 393-97 score...Tavon Austin made nine catches for 85 yards for WVU, while Stedman Bailey made five grabs for 72 and Sanders finished with five catches for 57 yards...WVU improved to 11-4 in non- conference games under head coach Bill Stewart...Marshall is 119-20 since the opening of Edwards Stadium in 1991...The Herd's last win over a ranked team came on September 20, 1993 over then sixth-ranked Kansas State. They are 3-15 in school history against ranked teams...Dodson made four catches for 120 yards...Friday's game was only the third played in Huntington and just the second since 1915...The teams have played in five consecutive seasons...Marshall is wearing special helmet decals to honor the 29 coal miners that were lost in the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster in April.
09/11 02:52:06 ET