Key Moment: West Virginia - Marshall

West Virginia's hot start on both sides of the ball in the second half kept Marshall from getting into the game.

West Virginia had missed a golden opportunity at the end of the first half that would have increased its lead by at least three points. Marshall was to receive the ball coming out of the locker room for the third quarter.

Although the MU offense had sputtered in the game's opening half, might a handful of halftime adjustments be enough to get them going in the second half?

Mountaineer kicker Pat McAfee opened the second half with a booming kickoff. Herd running back/return man Darius Marshall busted through West Virginia's normally-superb kickoff coverage for a 31-yard return, giving MU decent field position to start its drive.

If Marshall – trailing 14-3 – was going to get back in the game, the half's opening possession would certainly be an opportune time to do so.

On the first play from scrimmage, redshirt freshman quarterback Mark Cann found senior Darius Passmore for a gain of 12 yards. Might that be a sign of things to come?

On the next play, Darius Marshall carried for a yard.

A bubble screen to Chubb Small was sniffed out by West Virginia's defense. Linebacker J.T. Thomas applied the initial hit to Small, and forced the ball loose as the senior was falling to the turf. Sophomore cornerback Brandon Hogan – playing his finest game as a defender – fell on the loose pigskin.

Smelling blood, the Mountaineer offense was looking for the proverbial kill, as a touchdown and 21-3 lead would all but wipe away the missed opportunity at the end of the first half.

Noel Devine took a handoff on the first play for the Mountaineers, and what originally looked as a loss or short gain quickly became another of Devine's highlight-reel runs. The sophomore juked and jive his way around the field, leaving would-be Marshall tacklers grappling at thin air before finally being forced out of bounds at the MU 11 after a gain of 36.

Three plays later, Patrick White found Jock Sanders in the flat for a six-yard touchdown pass. West Virginia led 21-3, and made it clear that the Friend of Coal Bowl Trophy would be staying put in Morgantown for another year.


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