MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Geno Smith threw two first-half touchdown passes, Tavon Austin returned a kickoff for a score and No. 24 West Virginia beat Marshall 34-13 on Sunday night in a game that was stopped early in the fourth quarter because of lightning.
Smith completed 26 of 35 passes for 249 yards. Despite difficulty running the ball, West Virginia improved to 11-0 against its cross-state foe, including six wins since the series resumed in 2006.
Marshall was limited to 13 first downs, 187 total yards and no offensive touchdowns.
The game was first halted with 5 minutes left in the third quarter because of severe storms and play didn't resume for three hours.
Digital Access For Only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Play was stopped again with 14:36 left. But another hour went by before the game was called off, giving new West Virginia Coach Dana Holgorsen a soggy, successful debut.
The game was delayed a total of 4 hours, 22 minutes.
Marshall freshman Rakeem Cato was poised in his debut at quarterback but couldn't get the Thundering Herd into the end zone. He went 15-for-21 for 115 yards without an interception.
The Thundering Herd's lone touchdown came on an 87-yard punt return by Andre Booker to open the scoring.
Kentucky St. 39, Central St. 21: The Thorobreds' Jerrel Noland threw for 218 yards and four touchdowns at Dayton, Ohio. Andrew Ramsey ran for 130 yards and a TD, and Rafael Amey caught two of Noland's TD passes.
LSU confident after win
ARLINGTON, Texas — The point made by big Louisiana State defensive end Sam Montgomery is really hard to dispute right now.
"I would like to speak on behalf of all SEC teams," Montgomery said after the fourth-ranked Tigers' 40-27 season-opening win over No. 3 Oregon late Saturday night. "I just think we run the NCAA. Period."
Instead of being distracted by the absence of suspended QB Jordan Jefferson, the loaded Tigers' defense stifled an Oregon team that has averaged more than 40 points and 471 yards a game since Chip Kelly arrived as offensive coordinator in 2007 and became head coach two years later.
"Looking at their D-line, standing next to them walking off the field, they don't look like a lot of the guys we see," Kelly said.
Georgia Ogletree sidelined
No. 19 Georgia, which lost 35-21 to fifth-ranked Boise State on late Saturday night, also will be without a key defensive player for at least a months. Coach Mark Richt confirmed Sunday that sophomore inside linebacker Alec Ogletree will undergo surgery on an injured foot. His expected recovery time is four-to-six weeks.
Richt called it a tough blow for a team that didn't have a lot of experience at that position. Ogletree is backed up by freshman Amario Herrera.
The Bulldogs host No. 12 South Carolina in the Southeastern Conference opener Saturday.
EKU can't close deal
MANHATTAN, Kan. — Kansas State needed an 86-yard touchdown drive in the closing minutes to edge Eastern Kentucky 10-7 late Saturday night.
"I just hurt for the kids," Eastern Kentucky Coach Dean Hood said after his team couldn't prevent the Wildcats' comeback. "If we prepare like we did last week and if we play like we did out there, we can play with anybody. I mean, that's a Big 12 team."