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C-USA: West Virginia escapes Cincy's comeback specialist

©Associated Press
September 15, 2002

CINCINNATI -- Rasheed Marshall ran for two touchdowns and passed for another Saturday as West Virginia held on for a 35-32 victory against Cincinnati.

Gino Guidugli led another late comeback by Cincinnati, which scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and had a chance to tie.

Jonathan Ruffin's 49-yard field goal attempt hit the left upright as time ran out.

West Virginia had little problem with a defense that will try to stop No. 6 Ohio State next week. The Mountaineers rushed for 334 yards, had 27 first downs and didn't punt until the fourth quarter.

The Buckeyes visit Paul Brown Stadium on Saturday.

Avon Cobourne ran for 193 yards and West Virginia's first two touchdowns, picking his way through numerous missed tackles.

It was Cobourne's second-highest rushing total and the 20th 100-yard game of his career. The senior trails only Amos Zereoue on the team career rushing list.

Marshall mixed short passes and option runs against the flat-footed Bearcats. The elusive sophomore was 16-of-24 for 189 yards and ran 12 times for 44 yards.

Cincinnati's defense lost its composure early. End Antwan Peek -- the Bearcats' best defensive player -- got a 15-yard penalty for taunting Marshall after a play was over.

Coach Rick Minter called Peek to the sideline, grabbed his jersey, screamed at him and benched him for two plays.

Wisconsin quarterback Brooks Bollinger had a lot of time to throw last week during the Badgers' 34-17 win, so the Mountaineers changed strategies and frequently blitzed Guidugli.

The sophomore known for fourth-quarter comebacks came up short. He hobbled off with a bruised right knee in the third quarter, then walked around on the sideline as Marshall's 1-yard touchdown run put West Virginia up 35-17.

Guidugli returned and led two touchdown drives. His 8-yard pass to Tye Keith and his keeper for the two-point conversion cut it to 35-32 with 5:39 left.

Guidugli completed four passes that put the Bearcats in field goal range with 1 second left, but Ruffin's kick hit high off the left upright and bounced back at him.

The Mountaineers had lost seven road games in a row since beating Rutgers Nov. 4, 2000. They've played Cincinnati 12 times since 1921 and never lost, going 11-0 with a tie.

* * *

SOUTHERN MISS 33, MEMPHIS 14: Derrick Nix ran for 196 yards, 175 in the first half, and two touchdowns on 21 carries for the host Eagles.

Nix barely missed having consecutive 200-yard games after sitting out most of the fourth quarter with his team well ahead.

The 225-pound senior also continued his dominance against Memphis. He has 523 yards and five touchdowns in four games, all wins, against the Tigers.

Danny Wimprine was 9-of-15 for 153 yards for Memphis, but left in the third after being sandwiched by two defenders while scrambling. There was no immediate word on Wimprine's condition, but he walked to the locker room under his own power.

* * *

EAST CAROLINA 24, TULANE 20: Marvin Townes and Art Brown had a combined 226 yards on the ground to lead the host Pirates in their conference opener.

Paul Troth, who threw seven interceptions in the Pirates' first two games, completed eight passes for 92 yards and no interceptions in East Carolina's home opener.

The first half ended with the Pirates up 17-10.

The Green Wave recovered the ball in Pirate territory twice in the third quarter and took the lead for the first time at 20-17.

But the Pirates came back with 37 seconds left in the third on a 4-yard touchdown run by Art Brown.

* * *

TCU 17, SMU 6: Sean Stilley threw second-half touchdowns of 64 and 28 yards to LaTarence Dunbar for the host Horned Frogs.

TCU led 3-0 in the third quarter when a defensive play led to Stilley's first touchdown pass and turned the momentum toward the Horned Frogs.

On third down, John Hampton of SMU was hit by Jared Smitherman, causing a fumble that was recovered by TCU's Bo Schobel. Three plays later, Stilley hit Dunbar with a 28-yard touchdown pass.

* * *

PITTSBURGH 26, UAB 20: Rod Rutherford threw a 10-yard touchdown to Roosevelt Bynes with 5:18 left for the visiting Panthers.

The score was tied at 20 when Rutherford led the Panthers on an 86-yard winning drive.

After Bynes' touchdown, the Panthers' J.B. Gibboney missed the extra point, leaving UAB with a chance to win.

UAB began from its 32 with 2:32 left, but on the first play, quarterback Thomas Cox fumbled as he tried to throw under pressure. Pittsburgh's Lewis Moore recovered.

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