Sunday, September 4, 2011
Final: West Virginia 34, Marshall 13
By Andrea Adelson
The story in Morgantown Sunday night should have been about the debut of Dana Holgorsen and his high-powered offense. Instead, all the talk was about two weather delays that forced the Mountaineers' win over Marshall to be called with 14:36 remaining in the fourth quarter.
In all, the game lasted nearly seven hours from the time it began to the time it was called. With that, this game was the second Big East game of the weekend to be plagued because of bad weather. USF endured two weather delays in its 23-20 win over Notre Dame on Saturday.
Quite a bizarre start to the season. The West Virginia delays actually lasted longer than those at Notre Dame -- but the game simply could not be completed.
The first delay lasted a little more than three hours, and came just after Tavon Austin returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to give West Virginia a 27-13 lead.
That was with 4:59 left in the third quarter. With lightning closing in on Milan Puskar Stadium, officials ordered both teams off the field and the fans out of the stadium. But a game becomes official after three quarters, so the contest could not be called.
The teams returned to the field after a three hour, three minute delay. Marshall went three-and-out; West Virginia scored another touchdown on a Vernard Roberts run to go up 34-13. More bad weather moved in, and the stadium was cleared once again with the fourth quarter having just begun. The schools consulted with their respective conference offices and medical staffs and made a joint decision to end the game early.
A joint statement released by both schools reads: "After consultation with the Office of the Commissioner of the Big East Conference and the Office of Commissioner of Conference USA, as well as the medical staffs of Marshall University and West Virginia University, and based on the pending weather forecast, as well as the physical and mental fatigue of the student athletes, it has been decided that the football game between Marshall University and West Virginia University has been stopped in the fourth quarter resulting in a final score of 34-13."