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West Virginia overcomes sluggish start to beat Marshall

Sep 8, 2007 - 8:23 PM HUNTINGTON, West Virginia (Ticker) -- West Virginia's first visit to Marshall in nearly a century was anything but easy.

Pat White passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another score as the third-ranked Mountaineers overcame a sluggish start before pulling away for a 48-23 victory over Marshall on Saturday.

Making their first visit to Huntington since 1915, the Mountaineers (2-0) hardly resembled one of the nation's top teams as they had to rally from a halftime deficit.

But White got the high-powered offense moving in the second half as he threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Darius Reynaud and scored on a 20-yard run during a 21-point third quarter that turned a 13-6 deficit into a 27-16 lead.

White completed 13-of-18 passes for 149 yards without a turnover. He also rushed for 125 yards on 18 attempts.

Speedy running back Steve Slaton, who was completely bottled up in the first two quarters, added touchdown runs of two and 18 yards in the second half for West Virginia, which improved to 7-0 all-time against Marshall.

Slaton rushed for 144 of his 146 yards after halftime. The junior was held to two yards on five carries over the first two quarters.

Led by Slaton and White, the Mountaineers cranked out 315 of their 361 rushing yards after halftime.

"They changed their offense and in the fourth quarter their offensive front kicked our line's butt," Marshall coach Mike Snyder said.

Reynaud also proved a handful for the Thundering Herd defense as he finished with eight receptions for 126 yards and two scores. He caught a 46-yard TD pass in the first quarter, giving the Mountaineers a 6-3 lead.

Bernard Morris threw a pair of touchdown passes for Marshall (0-2), which was coming off a 31-3 beating at Miami last week.

After enduring four three-and-outs on their seven first-half possessions, the Mountaineers scored touchdowns on six of their seven possessions after intermission.

Darius Marshall gave the home crowd an immediate jolt, returning the opening kickoff 77 yards to the West Virginia 23. The big play led to Anthony Binswanger's 32-yard field goal.

The Mountaineers responded when White found Reynaud over the middle for a 46-yard TD. A bad snap on the extra point left the Mountaineers with a 6-3 lead.

After the score, the Thundering Herd's aggressive defense - which featured seven men in the box - held the Mountaineers off the board for the rest of the half.

A 26-yard punt return by Pat McAfee in the second quarter set up Morris' 38-yard touchdown pass to Darius Passmore, giving the Thundering Herd a 10-6 lead with 5:27 left in the first half.

Morris went an efficient 15-of-23 for 231 yards without a turnover.

Binswanger converted a 26-yard field goal with two seconds left in the opening half as Thundering Herd took a 13-6 lead.

But the Mountaineers flexed their muscles thereafter on offense, with White engineering five scoring drives of at least 50 yards.

Noel Devine also got into the act for the Mountaineers, scoring on runs of 12 and 10 yards. He rushed for 76 yards on five carries.