How did West Virginia and Marshall football fare? On Saturday, the two teams’ games were decided by a total of three points, with the Mountaineers winning a thriller and the Thundering Herd coming up just short on the road.
West Virginia 42, Texas 41
Line: West Virginia -1
In one of the wildest games of the college football season that saw nine lead changes, West Virginia defeated Texas 42-41. West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen opted to go for the win with a two-point conversion after the Mountaineers scored with just 16 seconds left in the game.
West Virginia trailed 41-34 late in the fourth quarter but quarterback Will Grier led the Mountaineers on a 75-yard game-winning drive. Grier capped off the drive with a beautiful throw while being pressured to receiver Gary Jennings Jr., who beat two Texas defenders for a 33-yard touchdown. Instead of playing for overtime, Holgorsen went for the win.
It appeared as though West Virginia had taken the lead when Grier connected with David Sills V for the two-point conversion, but Texas coach Tom Herman called a timeout just before the snap, nullifying the conversion. It didn’t matter. After the timeout, Grier ran a quarterback draw into the end zone for the win. Grier finished 28 of 42 for 346 yards and three touchdowns.
The spread in this game was interesting because it opened Texas -2.5 before closing at West Virginia -1. So, depending on which line you got, it was either a win, loss or push. The OVER 58 points was never in doubt. The two teams combined for 614 yards and 55 points in the first half, making it an easy day for over bettors.
The win improves West Virginia to 7-1 and 5-1 in the Big 12. The Mountaineers have the inside track to a berth in the Big 12 championship game with TCU, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma remaining on their schedule.
Southern Miss 26, Marshall 24
Line: Marshall -3
In a pivotal Conference USA matchup, Southern Mississippi held off Marshall 26-24 at home. The loss drops the Thundering Herd to 5-3 overall and 3-2 in the conference. Marshall trails Middle Tennessee (5-1) and Florida International (4-1) in Conference USA’s East division.
Marshall was leading this game 10-3 late in the second quarter but the final 48 seconds of the first half were a disaster for the Thundering Herd. Southern Miss tied the game with 48 seconds remaining in the half, when Tate Whatley hit Quez Watkins for a 4-yard touchdown.
It looked like the game would be tied at halftime but Darian Yancey had other ideas. Marshall quarterback Isaiah Green got sacked by Jacques Turner. Yancey scooped up the ball and returned it 17 yards to give the Golden Eagles a 17-10 halftime lead.
Southern Miss led 20-17 in the fourth quarter when Whatley scored on a one-yard touchdown run to give the Golden Eagles a 26-17 lead with 7:13 remaining. Marshall scored a touchdown with 1:11 left in the game but it was too little, too late. Southern Miss got the ball back and ran out the clock for the two-point win.
Southern Mississippi cashed as a three-point home underdog. The late Marshall touchdown did impact the total, however. The score put the game over 47.5.