MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- Rasheed Marshall told a teammmate at the
start of the season he thought he would break Donovan McNabb's Big
East rushing record for quarterbacks -- against Syracuse.
Marshall was right on the mark.
He rushed for 87 yards and threw three touchdown passes to lead West Virginia (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) over the Orange 27-6 Thursday night.
"Just playing against Syracuse, that being his former school,
it makes it that much better," Marshall said. "There is an extra
sweetness to it."
Marshall's 87 rushing yards gave him 1,605 for his career,
breaking McNabb's mark of 1,561. In 2002, Marshall set the
single-season mark of 666 formerly held by Michael Vick at Virginia
"Being mentioned in the same sentence as Vick or McNabb, those
guys you see on Sundays making plays," Marshall said. "Just to be
in the same category and surpassing them is great."
Chris Henry caught two TD passes against the Orange for the second straight season, and Jason Colson had 113 yards against the league's worst rushing defense. West Virginia amassed 279 yards on the ground.
"They have got some great backs. But Rasheed is the best one,"
Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni said.
The Mountaineers (6-1, 2-0) took sole possession of first place
in the conference by scoring the first 17 points and stopping four
Syracuse drives inside the red zone without points.
Syracuse (3-4, 1-1) now must win three of its final four games
to become bowl eligible. Each loss by the Orange has been to a
"Every single week is a challenge playing the schedule we
have," Pasqualoni said.
Walter Reyes, Syracuse's leading rusher, was ill and missed his
first game since the start of his freshman season, a streak of 42
contests. Reyes wore a jacket and a towel over his head on the
"He was in bed all day with an antibiotic. There was no way he
could play because he was sick as a dog," Pasqualoni said.
Reyes' replacement, Damien Rhodes, breathed life into the
sluggish Orange with a 2-yard TD run midway through the third
quarter to cut the deficit to 17-6.
But Syracuse, which managed just 66 yards rushing, turned the
ball over twice on downs inside the West Virginia 20 in the fourth
Henry's 47-yard catch midway through the period set up Marshall's 22-yard scoring pass to Charles Hales, a backup quarterback lined up at receiver.
Syracuse's Collin Barber missed two field goals, had one blocked and hit an upright with an extra-point try.
After Mike Lorello blocked Barber's 46-yard attempt in the first
quarter, Henry took a screen pass and went 27 yards into the end
zone to put the Mountaineers ahead 10-0.
Just before halftime, Syracuse's Marcus Clayton called for a
fair catch but dropped the punt and West Virginia's Brad Palmer
recovered at the Orange 20.
Marshall then set the rushing mark on a 24-yard TD run that was
called back when Henry was flagged for holding. Marshall was
credited with nine yards on the spot foul.
Henry make up for the gaffe on the next play, hauling in a
25-yard TD pass for a 17-0 halftime lead.
The Mountaineers entered the game having scored touchdowns on 18
of 20 possessions inside the opponents' 20, but they did have some
Three drives ended inside the 10, resulting in two Brad Cooper field goals. Another Cooper attempt was partially blocked.
"I made one or two bad calls down there, play selections that I
was kicking myself over," West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez said.
"I didn't do a good job in the red zone today."