Friday, September 21, 2007

WVU was running the old single-wing

West Virginia decimates Marshall
“WVU was running the old single-wing”

By Dave Morrison
Sports Editor
Published: September 08, 2007 11:41 pm

HUNTINGTON — At times during the second half of West Virginia’s 48-23 win over Marshall in the Friends of Coal Bowl Saturday, it looked like WVU was running the old single-wing.

The Mountaineers put quarterback Pat White in shotgun formation with an empty backfield and then let him work his mastery.

“It reminded me of the bowl game in the fourth quarter,” coach Rich Rodriguez said. “The Gator Bowl when Pat was running. We had to try to do some different things to equal up the (personnel) numbers in the run game. They outnumbered us at times.”

White finished with 125 yards rushing and 149 more passing.

For the year, he has rushed for 222 yards and four touchdowns and has completed 23 of 36 passes for 341 yards and four touchdowns. He has not been intercepted.

Rodriguez on running off the field at the half down 13-6:

“That was not pretty,” he said. “I have the headsets on during the game, so I don’t hear nothing but coach (offensive coordinator Calvin) Magee. It’s usually pretty good to have your fans by your tunnel. It ain’t when you’re losing. That was not fun. I’ll have to jog a little faster to get in the lockerroom faster. That, or keep the headsets on.”

At one point, Bob “Kayo” Marcum, the Marshall athletic director, popped his head in during Rodriguez’s interview, ironically, right when Rodriguez was asked about WVU fans purchasing Marshall season tickets in order to acquire Coal Bowl tickets.

“Kayo’s happy back there,” Rodriguez said.

“Thank you, coach, we appreciate it,” Marcum answered.

“It was a great college atmosphere,” Rodriguez continued. “I’m sure it broke the (stadium) record. It looked like every seat was taken. A lot of Marshall fans. A lot of WVU fans (probably 20 percent of the record 40,383). And I certainly appreciate our folks, whether they came from the (Kanawha) Valley or up north.”

Steve Slaton became the third WVU running back to go over 3,000 yards for his career late in the third quarter. The others were Amos Zereoue and Avon Cobourne.

Marshall’s Darius Passmore recorded his first career touchdown reception with a 38-yard strike from Bernard Morris. Passmore had 97 yards of total offense, 21 rushing and 76 receiving.

Freshman phenom tailback Noel Devine continues to impress.

In limited time in the fourth quarter Saturday, Devine had 76 yards and two scores, on 12- and 10-yard runs.

It’s all about learning the system, Devine said.

“It’s not getting easier, the offensive line is just getting better,” Devine said. “I’m getting comfortable. I started getting comfortable in training camp and then even more after the first game. You’ve got to take it step by step.”

“We’ve got to get Noel in the game sooner,” Rodriguez said. “Steve got tired and Noel had some fresh legs. We have to get more confidence in him. He’s learning what we’re doing very quickly, but when the ball is in his hands, he’s got a gift. It was nice to see him make some plays in the second half.”

It’s easy to see that Devine is a fan and team favorite.

That includes his offensive line.

“Everybody loves Noel,” tackle Ryan Stanchek said. “He made some plays today, I’m proud of him.”

One of those was a 39-yard speed-highlighting run late that set up his second touchdown.

That’s typical for Noel.

“Everyone’s seen his highlight tapes (on,” Stanchek said. “He is the real deal. I’m one of those Internet gurus. You like to see what you’re getting.”

Michigan transfer Ryan Mundy, who recovered a key fumble in the second half (the game’s lone turnover), said he never panicked, despite what happened to Michigan vs. Appalachian State last week.

“Never,” Mundy said. “I have confidence in my teammates and my coaching staff. As long as we stayed together, I thought we’d accomplish our goal, winning this game.”

Marshall freshman Darius Marshall certainly impressed, with 80 yards on 11 carries.

“We have some playmakers — Darius Marshall is one of those playmakers,” Marshall coach Mark Snyder said.

Snyder briefly took the freshman out after his third-quarter fumble.

“That was his first fumble through camp,” the Herd coach said.

The announced crowd of 40,383 was easily a new stadium record, breaking the previous mark of 36,914 set against Kansas State on Sept. 10, 2005.

Speculation numbered WVU fans between 10,000 and 13,000.

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