Bowl Eligible!


By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
November 2, 2002

PHILADELPHIA – West Virginia turned five Temple turnovers into in an easy 46-20 Big East victory over the Owls Saturday afternoon at Veterans Stadium. The win gives the Mountaineers six victories for the season and makes them bowl eligible.

 
  Junior linebacker grant Wiley returns this interception deep into Temple territory in the first half of West Virginia's 46-20 win Saturday.

Temple turnovers and miastakes helped West Virginia build a large 33-0 halftime lead. In the second half the Mountaineers were simply content to run the football and eat the clock to get the game over.

The Owls (3-6), still looking for their first bowl berth since 1979, couldn’t find an answer for Mountaineer quarterback Rasheed Marshall who scored two touchdowns and finished the afternoon with 98 yards rushing on 11 carries and 172 yards of total offense.

“Everything they showed us on film they gave to us today,” said Marshall. “We just found some soft spots in the defense and we took advantage of it.”

West Virginia running back Avon Cobourne added 94 yards and two touchdowns to move past Thurman Thomas into 20th place in the NCAA all-time rushing list with 4,600 yards.

West Virginia took the opening kickoff and drove the football 81 yards for the game’s first score. Marshall was sharp on the drive completing passes of nine, three and 19 yards to Miquelle Henderson. Marshall also scampered for 10 and 21 yards on the drive and accounted for 64 of the 81 yards.

"(Temple) concentrated on Avon and Quincy and they kind of forgot about me,” said Marshall.

Cobourne found a crack in the Temple defense and slipped in from two yards out on third and goal to give the Mountaineers an early 7-0 lead.

West Virginia was in business immediately afterward when Temple’s Sean Szarka fumbled a reverse that was scooped up by Jermaine Thaxton at the Owl 15.

Three plays later, Cobourne reached the end zone once again from two yards out.

West Virginia’s third touchdown of the game was also set up by a Temple turnover. Owl quarterback Mike McGann misfired over the middle and Jahmile Addae picked off the pass at the Temple 35.

After two plays netted a loss of a yard, Marshall found split end Phil Braxton for a nifty 15-yard pass and run on third and 11 to move the football to the Temple 21.

Three plays later the Mountaineers crossed the goal line once again when Wilson bounced in from four yards out.

Temple’s inability to advance the football led to another scoring opportunity for West Virginia at the start of the second quarter.

The Mountaineers took over the football at the 48 and moved it to the Temple 18 before the drive stalled. Todd James kicked a career-long 41-yard field goal to boost West Virginia’s lead to 24-0.

West Virginia had a chance for seven more when linebacker Grant Wiley picked off backup quarterback Mike Frost’s pass and ran it to the Temple nine, but the Owls produced a goal line stand when Wilson was unable to get in on fourth and goal.

Temple was left with awful field position and that ultimately led to two more points when James Davis and Grant Wiley sandwiched Frost, forcing the football loose. Temple offensive lineman Donny Klein recovered the ball in the end zone for a safety to give WVU a 26-0 advantage.

West Virginia scored once again with 5:22 left in the half when Marshall ran 28 yards for a touchdown on a third-and-two play.

The Mountaineers could have tacked on three more right at the end of the half, but James’ 46-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left.

Temple had an awful time against West Virginia’s aggressive defense in the first half, gaining just 16 yards on 24 plays. By comparison, the Mountaineers grounded out 226 total yards by the break.

After forcing Temple to a three and out on its opening possession of the third quarter, West Virginia found the end zone once again when Marshall scored from 16 yards out. The score was set up by a Lance Frazier interception that moved the ball to the Temple 16-yard line.

Temple finally got on the board with 5:39 left in the third quarter when McGann found Krishan Lewis for a four-yard touchdown. The score was set up by a 40-yard pass from McGann to Sean Szarka that moved the ball to the West Virginia 10.

The Owls got on the board once again with 12:22 left in the fourth quarter when McGann found Terrance Stubbs for a 22-yard touchdown.

Temple reduced the deficit by another touchdown when McGann hit Szraka for a 24-yard touchdown with 6:47 left in the game. Poklemba missed the extra point to make the score 40-20, West Virginia.

The Mountaineers put an exclamation point on the afternoon when Wilson got free of Temple’s eight-man front for a 14-yard touchdown run. Just like Poklemba, James’ conversion failed.

”Guys were relaxed in the second half and we started making mistakes,” said Marshall.

Temple’s Tanardo Sharps came into the game as the Big East’s third-leading rusher averaging 114.4 yards per game, but only managed 30 yards on 17 carries against a West Virginia defense geared to stop him.

The Owls finished the game with just 49 yards on 24 carries.

West Virginia hosts Boston College next Saturday for the final home game of the season. The Eagles upset Notre Dame 14-7 in South Bend and come into the game with a 5-3 record. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Mountaineer Ticket Office toll-free at 1-800-WVU GAME beginning Monday morning.

Game Notes: West Virginia chose to play in all white uniforms for the second time this season … Temple won the opening coin toss and elected to defer until the second half … junior Ben Timmons replaced senior Ken Sandor at right guard; Sandor sprained his ankle last week against Miami … West Virginia’s 46 points Saturday were the second-most of the season and the most against a Big East opponent this year … the Mountaineers have now scored 30 points or more six times in nine games this year … West Virginia has won all six of those games ... The Mountaineers have now won 11 out of the last 12 meetings against Temple since 1984.

Scoring Summary

WV -- Cobourne 2 run (James kick)
WV -- Cobourne 1 run (James kick)
WV -- Wilson 4 TD run (James kick)
WV -- James 41 FG
WV -- Frost sacked in end zone for safety
WV -- Marshall 28 run (James kick)
WV -- Marshall 16 run (James kick)
TU -- Lewis 4 pass from McGann (Poklemba kick)
TU – Stubbs 22 pass from McGann (Poklemba kick)
TU – Szraka 24 pass from McGann (Conversion failed)
WV – Wilson 14 run (Conversion failed)

Individual Statistics

Rushing: WV -- Marshall 11-98, Cobourne 29-94, Wilson 18-36, Page 1-2, Total 59-230; TU -- Sharps 17-30, Wade 1-24, McGann 4-15, Szarka 1-minus 8, Frost 1-minus 9, Total 24-52.

Passing: WV -- Marshall 10-18-0-74-0; TU -- McGann 13-32-3-180-3, Frost 1-2-1-2-0, Total 14-34-4-182-3.

Receiving: WV -- Henderson 6-54, Braxton 1-16, Wilson 1-4, Cobourne 1-3, Nastasi 1-minus 3, Total 10-74; TU -- Szarka 3-64, Stubbs 3-52, Sharps 3-17, Lewis 2-6, Dillard 1-28, Fenton 1-9, Cobb 1-6, Total 14-182.

Attendance: 15,042




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