PoG: WVU - Marshall

While it was an all-around team effort that allowed West Virginia to overcome a rocky start and win the Friends of Coal Bowl, there were a few performances that stood out on both sides of the football.

OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME:

Noel Devine. The fleet-footed junior, who came into the game ranked third in the nation in terms of average rushing yards per game, outperformed his counterpart, Darius Marshall.

The Herd's running back came into the game second in major college football in that same category.

While Marshall was bottled up and held to 82 yards, Devine continued to flourish, gaining 107 yards of his own on 19 carries -- six fewer attempts than MU's star running back had. Devine also ran for two touchdowns.

His performance on the field was impressive enough, but he made his biggest impact on the game simply by being a threat to run the ball.

Marshall defensive coordinator Rick Minter opted to key his unit to stop Devine, allowing freshman quarterback Geno Smith the opportunity to make plays in the air in the second half.

A good running back could be the best friend a quarterback has. On this night, Devine and the WVU offensive line helped make Smith's transition into being an every-down signal-caller a bit easier.



Sidney Glover

DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME:

Sidney Glover. The safety may have struggled early in the season through injury issues, but he was clearly at full force against the Herd.

The junior led the Mountaineers in tackles with nine, tying MU's Ashton Hall for a game-high in that mark. Six of those takedowns were solo efforts, which was a game high.

He had one tackle for loss and was part of a secondary that (with the exception of Marshall tight end Cody Slate) shut down the Herd's aerial attack, allowing the rest of the defense to key on Darius Marshall.

That allowed the WVU defense to hold MU to only 207 total yards -- only 68 of which came in the second half.

GAME BALLS

  • Geno Smith. The true freshman showed why he was such a highly-regarded prospect coming out of Miramar High School in Florida.

    Smith came in after only four WVU plays, when starting signal-caller Jarrett Brown went down with an apparent concussion.

    While the offense sputtered for some time after he came in, the freshman kept his composure and led his team to 24 unanswered points to end the contest -- including 21 after he had the halftime intermission.

    Smith was 15-of-21 passing for 147 yards. He made a perfect throw to Alric Arnett for a 33-yard touchdown that gave West Virginia a 17-7 lead and put the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.

    Before that, the QB remained composed enough to fight through an attempt at an ankle tackle by a Marshall player on a fourth-and-10 play.

    He kept his eyes downfield and found Jock Sanders for 14 yards and a critical first down, as Devine would run in from 14 yards out on the next play to give the Mountaineers their first lead.

  • Brandon Hogan. While the cornerback has had his struggles so far this season, he made big plays when the team needed him to against the Herd.

    The converted receiver intercepted a Brian Anderson pass. He also recovered a Darius Marshall fumble inside the WVU 10-yard line in the first half, keeping his team's early deficit at only seven points.

    He and the rest of the secondary held all MU receivers not named Cody Slate to a combined seven catches for only 47 yards.

  • Chris Neild. The team's nose tackle continues to chew through the interior of opposing offensive lines.

    Neild's many victories at the line of scrimmage made life more difficult for Darius Marshall than it otherwise would have been.

    The ability of the front three of the Mountaineer defense to get into the backfield kept the star running back from getting loose and having any truly big plays. The fourth-year junior had four total tackles, including one tackle for loss.

    He added a pass break-up to complete an all-around solid day that helped the WVU defense hold the Herd to only seven points -- and none at all after MU's opening drive. The defense allowed Marshall only one drive of more than 19 yards in the Herd's final 13 possessions.


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