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Throwback Thursday: Mountaineers Almost Lose To Marshall For The First Time In Program History

That fateful night in Huntington, West Virginia on September 10th, 2010 almost provided the worst loss in program history.


In Geno Smith's second start as a West Virginia University Quarterback, the Mountaineers were down 14-3 at halftime to the Thundering Herd. The home fans at Edwards Stadium had a sense of hope looking for its first program victory versus WVU (0-9).

The Mountaineers trailed the Thundering Herd 14-6 at the start of the fourth quarter. Just five seconds into the fourth quarter, Marshall completed a 12 yard touchdown pass from Brian Anderson to Antavious Wilson to put the Thundering Herd up 21-6. The Marshall student section looked ready to party, and party hard.

For the past two seasons before this 2010 friday night lights football game, current Marshall Thundering Herd coach Doc Holliday was a recuiting coordinator for WVU. JaJuan Seider, currently WVU's Running Back's and Tight Ends coach, was WVU's offensive graduate assistant turned Marshall running back and recruiting coordinator. To pile it on, three ex-graduate assistants at WVU had similar roles at Marshall.

The WVU head coach at the time was Bill Stewart, who tragically passed away of a massive heart attack a year and eight months later.

Geno Smith and the 23rd ranked Mountaineers twice drove 90+ yards for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter to get the Mountaineers within two points of tying the game. The final touchdown drive ended with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Will Johnson with 12 seconds left. WVU now trailed Marshall 21-19 with 12 seconds remaining and all that was left to do was complete a two point conversion.

Smith connected with Jock Sanders in the back of the endzone on the 2-point conversion.

The game went to overtime with the Marshall crowd completely stunned. Looking at the Marshall student section from my last row endzone seat was priceless. They were silent with many interlocking their fingers on top of their heads and looking around for confirmation of what they had just witnessed.

In overtime, on the very first Mountaineer posession, Geno Smith fumbled the ball at the Marshall 34-yard line for a loss of nine yards. Smith regained his composure and completed passes of 13-yards and 9-yards on consecutive plays to get to the Marshall 12 yard line for a first down. Noel Devine rushed for a total of 9 yards on two plays and a Smith pass went incomplete at the Thundering Herd 3-yard line. WVU kicker Tyler Bitancurt hit his third field goal of the contest and put the Mountaineers up 24-21.

Marshall was up next looking to tie the game, or even win it. On the first play Anderson was sacked for a loss of eight yards. The next play he got back 11-yards to get to the WVU 22-yard line. Anderson's third-and-seven pass went incomplete. Tyler Warner then missed a 39-yard field goal.

The Mountaineers narrowly escaped Huntinton, West Virginia with a win over their instate rival. The fact is, they should have lost. With that 2010 adrenaline pumping win, the Mountaineers improved to 10-0 versus the Thundering Herd.