The West Virginia Mountaineers lead the Marshall Thundering Herd 20-10 at the end of the first half. New coach Dana Holgorsen's offense is in first-game-of-the-season form, with three receivers producing catches of 20 yards or more despite some hangups. For his part, Geno Smith has completed 17 of 22 attempts for 187 yards, 76 of them to Stedman Bailey, and two touchdowns.
Good signs: well, the Eers are looking better than they did last year against their in-state opponents, though last year the Herd was all CLEAR EYES in their quest to score their first-ever victory against WVU. Smith eventually led his team to a late win, but the numbers support the perception at the time that Marshall had played well enough to win.
This time, the Mountaineers have almost doubled up Marshall in total yardage, 223 to 125, even though both teams are averaging right about five yards per play. The difference: WVU has run 15 more plays.
West Virginia's defense has forced five failed third-down conversions in six tries, limiting Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato's otherwise tolerable (10-of-13, 81 yards) half, which included a 72-yard two-minute field goal drive to close the period.
For more, head to West Virginia blog The Smoking Musket.