MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- West Virginia's group of quality
rushers has the Mountaineers one win away from their first Bowl
Championship Series berth.
Kay-Jay Harris caught two scoring passes and ran for two other
touchdowns to lead West Virginia (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) to a 42-21 victory over
Temple on Saturday.
West Virginia starter Jason Colson's streak of three straight
100-yard games was snapped when he injured his ankle and didn't
play in the second half.
But it didn't slow the Mountaineers (8-1, 4-0 Big East).
Harris, quarterback Rasheed Marshall and freshman Pernell
Williams combined for 221 yards to keep the Mountaineers unbeaten
in the conference.
"Jason Colson was nicked up, so it was good that Pernell and
Kay-Jay had pretty good days," said West Virginia coach Rich
Rodriguez. "It's going to be hard to keep Pernell Williams off the
field. I can promise you that."
Thanks to Syracuse's 38-31 double-overtime win over Pittsburgh,
West Virginia can clinch at least a share of a second straight
conference championship and its first BCS berth next week with a
win at home over No. 24 Boston College. WVU finishes the regular
season at Pittsburgh on Thanksgiving night.
Just a week ago, the Mountaineers were in disarray after nearly
squandering a big lead to Rutgers and having wide receiver Chris
Henry get ejected for two unsportsmanlike penalties.
"Everything is falling into place right now," Marshall said.
"Everybody's spirits are high. People were down last week, but
people (now) are having fun and scoring touchdowns."
Marshall had first-half TD tosses of 5 and 29 yards to Harris,
who also had two short scoring runs. Harris tied his personal best
for TDs set earlier this season against East Carolina.
Henry, benched for the first half Saturday as punishment for
last week's actions, caught a 40-yard TD pass from Marshall late in
the third quarter for a 35-14 lead. Henry's catch tied Reggie
Rembert's single-season school record of 11 TD receptions.
Henry, who has been known for posturing in the end zone, flipped
the ball around his body after the scoring catch. The ball hit a
Temple player, but Henry, motioning that it was meant for the
referee, wasn't flagged.
"I wasn't sure what he was doing," Rodriguez said. "But an
official actually came to me and said, 'Coach, he was throwing the
ball to me.' I went to Chris and said, 'See there, that's what I
mean. As soon as you score, you're a marked man _ you'd better know
how to handle it."'
West Virginia struggled again on defense, allowing an opponent
to surpass 400 yards of offense for the second straight game. But
while Temple (1-8, 0-4) moved the ball well, it couldn't convert
its opportunities into scores.
The Owls missed two field goals, Walter Washington was sacked
four times in the second half and he was limited to 16 of his 117
yards rushing after halftime.
Washington, playing through tonsillitis and a sore shoulder,
went 16-of-24 for 206 yards.
"I had a fever and couldn't sleep this morning," Washington
said. "I knew I was going to play regardless. I haven't thrown
that much in the last two weeks. It was hard for me to get into the
flow of the offense, but I gave it my best shot."
Washington's two scoring runs gave him a conference-best 12
rushing touchdowns this season. The 240-pound Washington moved
within 35 yards of Marshall's Big East single-season QB rushing
record of 666 yards set in 2002.
"Walter Washington is a load," Rodriguez said. "We had guys
in position to make plays. We just didn't tackle."