W. Virginia wins in OT
No. 23 West Virginia rallied from 15 points down in the fourth quarter to force overtime and Tyler Bitancurt’s 20-yard field goal in the first extra session lifted the Mountaineers to a 24-21 victory over Marshall last night at Huntington, W.Va., before a record stadium crowd of 41,382.
Brian Anderson threw three touchdown passes for Marshall (1-1) and the Thundering Herd appeared to have the outcome in hand after jumping ahead, 21-6, early in the fourth.
West Virginia (1-1) twice drove more than 90 yards for a touchdown down the stretch, including Geno Smith’s 5-yard TD toss to Will Johnson with 12 seconds left. Smith then threw to Jock Sanders in the back of the end zone on the 2-point conversion try to send the game into overtime tied at 21-21.
After Bitancurt’s third field goal of the game, Marshall’s Tyler Warner missed a 39-yard attempt wide right to end it.
“Mountaineers never quit,’’ said West Virginia coach Bill Stewart, who needed the late heroics to avoid what would have been the most disappointing loss in his three seasons.
West Virginia’s offense was sluggish at times for the second straight week. The Mountaineers got inside Marshall’s 30-yard line four times in the first three quarters but came away with only two field goals.
The Wildcats would have all of their varsity sports programs under the Big East banner if they accept an invitation to join the conference. The Big East has informed the Wildcats that it wants to add them.
Villanova President Peter Donohue did not say when the program would make a decision, but it won’t be until the board of trustees “conducts a careful and complete analysis’’ of all the factors. The decisions would include upgrading their football stadium or finding somewhere else to play.
The 13 players — including potential NFL draft prospects Robert Quinn, Marvin Austin, Kendric Burney, and Deunta Williams from a talented defense — didn’t travel with the team to face LSU in Atlanta last week because of the inquiry into agent-related benefits and possible academic misconduct.
The Tar Heels nearly rallied from a 20-point deficit in the fourth quarter in the 30-24 loss.