WVU Football: Marshall One Last Time; 2012 Mountaineer Season Is Here!

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WVU Football: Marshall One Last Time; 2012 Mountaineer Season Is Here!
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Stedman Bailey

WVU is getting ready to play Marshall one last time. The 2012 season kicks off next Saturday at Mountaineer Field when WVU hosts Marshall. Fall camp is over, the starting lineup is at least penciled in and it's time to play some football.

This game may be just another season opener to the WVU coaches and players. But to most Marshall fans and many from WVU, this is a big one. Nine players from Marshall hail from West Virginia and would love to knock off WVU for bragging rights back home.

Marshall may be a Conference USA team, but they are coming off a winning season and a Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl victory over Florida International by a score of 20-10. This year, the Herd is hoping to upset WVU for the first time in the series.

In last year's game, Marshall took an early lead before succumbing to a 34-14 defeat in a rare storm-shortened game. After being delayed for a total of over four hours, the game was called with over 14 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

WVU had trouble running the ball against Marshall, but Geno Smith completed 26 of 35 passes for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Tavon Austin had a 100-yard kickoff return that not only put Marshall away, but set the tone for his electrifying season.

WVU was just starting to adapt to head coach Dana Holgorsen's offense last year but should be much more efficient this season. Marshall should provide a good first-game test for WVU's revamped 3-4/4-3 defensive scheme.

 

Photo credit: GoldandBluezone.com

Sophomore quarterback Rakeem Cato has a year's experience and had a good fall practice. His favorite target is Aaron Dobson, a 6'3", 200-pound receiver who is on the Senior Bowl watch list.

Expect next Saturday's game to start out close but finish with WVU pulling away. Milan Puskar Stadium is sold out, and the game will be broadcast by the FX channel.

WVU hopes to make its record against Marshall 12-0 in this final game of a series called the "Friends of Coal Bowl."

Prediction: WVU 45  Marshall 24

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