William and Mary loses 24-17 at West Virginia


MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — For the second straight year, William and Mary opened the season taking a Football Bowl Subdivision team to the wire.

The Tribe led West Virginia on Saturday at Milan Puskar Stadium for the better part of the game, but couldn’t squash the Mountaineers’ fourth-quarter rally, falling 24-17.

William and Mary (0-1), which dropped its 2012 opener 7-6 at Maryland, took West Virginia (1-0) all the way into the fourth quarter with the game tied at 17.

To open up the fourth, Tribe kicker John Carpenter missed a 42-yard field goal that would have given the Tribe a three-point lead. After trading four series of punts, West Virginia took advantage of the missed field goal.

With 7:02 left in the game, West Virginia leaned on a trio of running backs, Dreamius Smith, Charles Sims and Wendell Smallwood, to complete an eight-play, 50-yard scoring drive. Smallwood scored on a 2-yard rush that gave the Mountaineers the lead for good.

“It was disappointing at the end of the fourth quarter to have offensive and defensive guys that couldn’t make the plays we needed to in the fourth quarter,” said William and Mary coach Jimmye Laycock.

The Tribe had time to tie the game, but on the first snap of its drive following the Mountaineers’ touchdown, Tribe quarterback Michael Graham was intercepted by safety Darwin Cook to solidify West Virginia’s win.

“Anytime you work that hard as a football team works and you play a game and you can come that close, it’s obviously very disappointing,” said Laycock, “These guys are resilient, and they’ll bounce back and learn from this.”

Laycock’s team grabbed an early lead during the first half. After West Virginia jumped out to an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter, William and Mary answered on a 1-yard play-action pass on the goal line from Graham to fullback Darnell Lewis to tie the game at 7.

On that drive, Graham found receiver Tre McBride for a 40-yard gain as McBride leapt over West Virginia corner Ishmael Banks to make the catch.

“He’s (McBride) a great player,” said Laycock, “Tre McBride made some great catches. He made some great plays.”

McBride finished the game with three catches for 108 yards.

On the Tribe’s next possession, Graham completed five passes for 72 yards before capping the drive with a 5-yard rushing touchdown.

William and Mary added a field goal before halftime, taking a 10-point lead into the locker room.

“Hats off to William and Mary,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, “They were very well coached and didn’t make mistakes.”

Holgorsen’s squad avoided the upset by scoring on its first two drives of the second half. Josh Lambert converted a 22-yard field goal followed by quarterback Paul Millard hitting Ronald Carswell in stride on a 69-yard touchdown pass to tie the game.

“I though Paul (Millard) managed the game well,” Holgorsen said.

Millard completed 19 of 25 passes for 237 yards and a touchdown in the victory for West
Virginia, and Sims led the team in rushing with 126 yards and a touchdown.

West Virginia plays its first conference game next week on the road against Oklahoma, while William and Mary hosts Hampton on Saturday.

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