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West Virginia Vs. Rutgers: Scarlet Knights Lead 17-14 After Action-Packed First Quarter

Snow and ice will be the dominant themes of the day as Piscataway has turned into a winter wonderland. Early in the game, both offenses have struggled in almost all situations. West Virginia netted -1 yard on it’s two opening drives. Rutgers opened the scoring with a 40-yard San San Te field goal. Rutgers did little to earn the field position but were helped out immensely by a 26-yard Michael Molinari punt from the Mountaineers' goal line.

The Mountaineers bounced back into things on their third drive, finally figuring out ways to gain positive yardage. After two great plays from Dustin Garrison, one rushing and one receiving, power back Shawn Alston busted through the line for a 52-yard touchdown. Alston demonstrated how the lack of footing on the snowy field can work in the offense's favor. Once the burly back got rumbling down-field he seemed to have an advantage over the quicker players on the field who had trouble keeping their footing.

The weather reared its ugly head on the Mountaineers next possession when the ball slipped out of Geno Smith’s hands deep in Rutgers territory. Geno’s fumble set up a 14 yard touchdown catch by Mohamed Sanu. It appeared Keith Tandy would stop the play in its tracks, but Sanu bounced off of him and walked into the endzone. It was a typical Mountaineers defensive play. This team loves to hit but hates to tackle. This time it cost them.

It didn’t take long for the Mountaineers to answer, scoring on their very next play from scrimmage. Tavon Austin sprinted down the sidelines on an 80 yard end around, another example of how players can find pay-dirt even with uneven footing. Once Austin beat the initial defenders, it was impossible for anyone to catch up with him.

The big play theme continued on the next Rutgers drive when Mark Harrison got behind Keith Tandy for a 40 yard touchdown catch. Najee Goode was inches away from stopping the play in the backfield, but Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova got the ball out just in the nick of time. While neither team can seem to string together two first downs, both have found success with the quick strike.

Brad Starks returned the ensuing kickoff for 80 yards down to the Rutgers six yard line, but it was called back on a holding penalty.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.