FCS Football News
25th-ranked West Virginia opens by blanking Coastal Carolina
Morgantown, WV (Sports Network) - Geno Smith completed 20-of-27 passes for a career-high 216 yards and two touchdowns in his first collegiate start and Noel Devine ran for 111 yards and a score to lead 25th-ranked West Virginia to a 31-0 drubbing of Coastal Carolina in the 2010 season opener for both schools.
The Mountaineers (1-0) led only 10-0 at the half but got a touchdown toss from Smith to Jock Sanders and a touchdown plunge from Ryan Clarke in the third quarter to break the game open en route to their ninth straight home win.
Sanders made eight catches for 71 yards while Tavon Austin added five catches for 90 yards for the Mountaineers, who won their 14th straight game at Milan Pusker Stadium over a non-conference foe.
Zach MacDowall went 13-of-26 for 119 yards and an interception and Eric O'Neal ran for 33 yards for the Chanticleers (0-1), who lost their fifth straight season opener.
West Virginia took the opening kickoff and moved 73 yards in 16 plays over eight minutes to score the game's first touchdown on a four-yard pass from Smith to J.D. Woods on fourth and goal. The drive took eight minutes.
The Mountaineers pushed their lead to 10-0 in the second quarter on a 21-yard field goal by Tyler Bitancurt that capped off a seven-play, 55-yard march.
Dominique Davenport intercepted Smith and returned it to the Mountaineers 21- yard line with 1:21 to go in the half but McDowall was picked off on the next play as the Chanticleers were turned away from a chance to get closer before the break.
"I thought we misfired early on offense but Geno played his first full game and he learned today," said West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart. "He'll get better, he's my guy. We went into a two-minute mode right from the get-go to set the tempo and show the offense how fast we want to play."
The hosts capitalized on a turnover on the second half kickoff and stretched their lead to 17 on Smith's 17-yard scoring strike to Sanders just 1:28 into the third quarter.
Coastal Carolina's Justin Durham then missed a 47-yard field goal attempt with 9 1/2 minutes left in the third and was unsuccessful again from 42 yards out with just over five minutes to go in the quarter.
West Virginia took advantage after the second miss and moved down the field 75 yards on nine plays to push the lead to 24-0 on Clarke's one-yard dive to paydirt.
Devine opened the fourth quarter with three straight carries, including a 53- yard dash that set up a four-yard score on the following play, to cap a five play, 62-yard drive that put the hosts ahead 31-0.
Devine's rushing touchdown was the 24th of his career. He carried 23 times and also caught two passes for 18 yards...WVU is 59-1 in its last 60 games when scoring 30 points or more...West Virginia outgained the visitors, 400-186...The Mountaineers are 8-0 under head coach Bill Stewart in non- conference home dates...Coastal Carolina won its first three season starters after beginning play in 2003...The Chanticleers played their fourth game against a FBS opponent. They were defeated at Penn State in 2008 and lost at Kent State and Clemson last season.
09/04 20:31:09 ET