Green has coming of age night
OXFORD, Ohio — As worst-case scenarios go, this was worse than most.
There sat Marshall’s Isaiah Green, deep within the bowels of Yager Stadium waiting to make his first appearance in an FBS game, waiting to take his first collegiate snap as a quarterback and waiting to start the first game of his collegiate career.
Imagine the nerves.
Imagine the tension.
Imagine the anxiety.
Then, the rain started pouring in torrents that obscured visibility. The thunder rumbled like Zeus was clearing his throat. And the lightning flashed and crashed with ominous promises.
Suddenly, Marshall University’s football season opener Saturday against Miami (Ohio) wasn’t going to kick off at 3:30 p.m. anymore. The lingering wave of thunderstorms forced officials to delay kickoff until 5:30 p.m.
What’s worse, another wave of storms pushed the kickoff back an additional 30 minutes to 6 p.m.
So, Green sat and waited. He fidgeted and waited. He paced and waited. And he tried to keep his nerve endings from jumping right through his skin and short-circuiting his long-awaited debut.
I mean, just how much can be expected of a 19-year-old kid who is about to celebrate his 20th birthday?
Well, as it turned out, Marshall could expect a great deal from the redshirt freshman because he got off to an amazingly fast start considering all the strange, unusual circumstances.
On Marshall’s first possession, Green fired a 9-yard pass to Obi Obialo for his first collegiate completion. Next, the 6-foot-2, 202-pound youngster rushed for a 10-yard gain. Then, Green tossed a 33-yard pass to Xavier Gaines.
Running back Keion Davis crashed into the end zone from two yards out on the next play, so guess what that meant? The calm rookie had led the Thundering Herd on a touchdown drive on the first possession of his career.
That’s heady stuff.
Green wasn’t done, either. On the contrary, the Georgia native was just getting started.
On Marshall’s second possession, he drove the Herd 80 yards in 12 plays for a 14-0 lead. Green rushed three times for 18 yards and was 4-for-4 passing for 31 yards, including an 8-yard completion to Obialo to set up Anthony Anderson’s 1-yard TD burst.
So much for the lightning. So much for the thunder. Green was supplying Marshall with all the thunder and lightning it needed.
Just consider these statistics when the first quarter ended. MU led 14-0. The Herd also led in first downs (11-2), rushing yardage (83 to minus-3), receiving yardage (94-31), time of possession (10:56 to 4:04), total offense (24 plays for 177 yards to 10 plays for 28 yards) and yards per play (7.38 to 2.80).
That’s a measuring stick of just how well Green was playing.
Individually, the redshirt freshman had completed seven of 10 passes for 94 yards, while rushing three times for 22 yards.
Talk about a debut.
Talk about a coming out party.
Why, Green even quick-kicked on fourth-and-five, leaving the RedHawks stranded at their own 4-yard line. Besides beating Miami (Ohio), Green could have won a punt, pass and kick contest Saturday night.
There was only one aspect still lacking from his stellar inaugural performance — a touchdown pass.
But Green took care of that with 6:32 remaining in the third quarter, tossing a 30-yard touchdown pass to Tyre Brady in Marshall’s eventual 35-28 win.
That was the final brick in Green’s wall-to-wall performance.
What quarterback controversy?
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at email@example.com.