NCAA FB

Sat, Sep 5, 2009 - 12:00 PM ET
Game Recap
 

West Virginia 33, Liberty 20

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP)

Jarrett Brown ran for one score and Tyler Bitancurt kicked four field goals to lead West Virginia past Liberty 33-20 Saturday.

West Virginia won its sixth straight season opener and improved to 10-0 against Football Championship Subdivision opponents since 2000.

Brown completed 19 of 26 passes for 243 yards in the first game of the post-Pat White era but also struggled at times to move the Mountaineers down the field.

The win wasn't secured until Robert Sands intercepted Liberty's Tommy Beecher midway through the fourth quarter and West Virginia's Noel Devine scored two plays later on a 24-yard run for a 33-13 lead.

Devine rushed 17 times for 112 yards. Liberty's Mike Brown caught 11 passes for 157 yards and a score.

West Virginia has plenty to work on with East Carolina coming to Morgantown next Saturday.

An offensive line that lost three longtime starters was unable to give Devine much room.

West Virginia did nothing to improve its standing as one of the nation's worst in yards allowed on kickoffs. Two of Liberty's drives after kickoffs started in West Virginia territory, and Western Washington transfer Josh Lider booted one out of bounds.

At least West Virginia temporarily solved its inability to move the ball in short-yardage situations. WVU converted six of 12 times on third down, including fullback Ryan Clarke's 2-yard TD run late in the first quarter.

Beecher's first game at Liberty went much better than his last start - a four-interception mess in South Carolina's 2008 season opener against North Carolina State.

Beecher went 22-of-33 for 210 yards and engineered two first-half scoring drives, including a screen pass that Mike Brown turned into a 20-yard TD and tied the game at 10-10 early in the second quarter.

On the next series, Jarrett Brown scored from 22 yards out on a planned draw play on third down to put the Mountaineers ahead to stay.

But West Virginia found the end zone only one more time the rest of the game.

Bitancurt kicked field goals of 38, 35, 45 and 36 yards. West Virginia outgained Liberty 438-299.

Tagged: West Virginia

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