4:00 PM ET, September 25, 2004
MILAN PUSKAR STADIUM, MORGANTOWN, WV
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez feared a lethargic performance against a Division I-AA opponent would come between games against rivals Maryland and Virginia Tech.
His suspicions were correct. But that still didn't bother the Mountaineers.
Rasheed Marshall, forced to throw because West Virginia (No. 7 ESPN/USAToday; No. 6 AP) couldn't get its running game going, had two touchdown passes to Chris Henry in the Mountaineers' 45-10 victory over James Madison on Saturday.
"It was a very uninspired, unemotional, going-through-the-motions football performance," Rodriguez said. "I don't think we should apologize for any win, but our guys know we have to play a lot better."
Especially next week at former Big East rival Virginia Tech, one of the unbeaten Mountaineers' biggest hurdles left this season.
West Virginia's defense came up with enough big plays, scoring one touchdown and setting up another, to help lift the offense.
But for most of the game, James Madison (2-1) matched West Virginia (4-0) yard for yard.
"That was part of the problem, looking past this to play Virginia Tech," said West Virginia cornerback Adam Jones. "Good teams play bad and win. Hopefully you all will see a different team next week."
The Dukes, boasting one of I-AA's top defenses, limited the Mountaineers to 171 yards on the ground, 140 yards below their average.
"I thought our quickness would bother them up front, and it did," said James Madison coach Mickey Matthews.
James Madison's eight-man front often forced West Virginia to pass, and Marshall completed 17 of 22 passes for 184 yards. He even had completions to backup quarterbacks Charles Hales and Dwayne Thompson.
Marshall tied a career high for completions and Henry tied a career high with seven catches for 74 yards.
"I do not really like playing teams like this because there is always something negative that comes of it. The focus was not there," Marshall said.
Hales also threw a scoring pass, but his fourth-quarter fumble was returned 35 yards by defensive tackle Brandon Beach for James Madison's only touchdown.
Henry has caught TD passes in each game this season. He had a 5-yard scoring reception late in the second quarter.
Fourteen seconds later, West Virginia's Adam Lehnortt picked up an Antoine Bolton fumble and returned it 21 yards for a 21-0 halftime lead.
Henry also caught a 3-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter.
West Virginia kept most of its offensive starters in for all but the final seven minutes.
"I was disappointed we didn't get to play more of the younger guys," Rodriguez said. "We kept some of the upperclassmen in there just to get to get out of that funk we were in on both sides of the ball."
James Madison has been outscored 135-10 in its last three contests against I-A teams and is 3-13 all-time against them.
The Dukes were a replacement on West Virginia's schedule when Miami moved to the Atlantic Coast Conference along with Virginia Tech this season.
West Virginia was coming off an overtime win over Maryland, and Rodriguez had warned his team several times during the week to keep its intensity high against James Madison.
"You can talk about it all you want," Rodriguez said. "Those 18, 19, 20 year olds sometimes won't take it to heart. It was a good lesson."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||4-15||6-14|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||2-2|
|TD||14:45||JASON COLSON 1 YD RUN (BRAD COOPER KICK)|
Drive info: 14 plays, 57 yards.
|TD||3:12||CHRIS HENRY 5 YD PASS FROM RASHEED MARSHALL (BRAD COOPER KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 72 yards.
|TD||2:58||ADAM LEHNORTT 21 YD DEFENSIVE FUMBLE RETURN (BRAD COOPER KICK)||0||21|
|TD||12:00||KAY-JAY HARRIS 8 YD RUN (BRAD COOPER KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 22 yards.
|FG||6:07||DAVID RABIL 32 YD FG|
Drive info: 13 plays, 52 yards.
|FG||2:38||BRAD COOPER 48 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 34 yards.
|TD||10:10||CHRIS HENRY 3 YD PASS FROM RASHEED MARSHALL (BRAD COOPER KICK)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 72 yards.
|TD||5:50||BRANDON MYLES 4 YD PASS FROM CHARLES HALES (BRAD COOPER KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 74 yards.
|TD||2:24||BRANDON BEACH 35 YD DEFENSIVE FUMBLE RETURN (DAVID RABIL KICK)||10||45|