Marshall 24, Troy St. 21
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) _ Chris Parker rushed for 142 yards and a touchdown as defending champion Marshall beat Troy State 24-21 Saturday, setting up its third straight meeting with Youngstown State for the Division I-AA title.
Youngstown State beat Idaho 35-16 in the other semifinal Saturday.
Marshall (11-3) saw a 17-point lead melt in the second quarter as both teams scored 45 points in the first half. But temperatures falling through the 20s and a strong breeze helped keep both teams scoreless in the second half.
Youngstown State (12-2) and Marshall will play next Saturday, and it will be the second straight time the title will be decided in Huntington.
Marshall won 31-28 last season on a last-second field goal while Youngstown State prevailed 25-17 in the 1991 championship game.
Marshall’s first two touchdowns were set up by defense and special teams.
On the game’s first series, Chris Hamilton recovered Kelvin Simmons’ fumble at the Troy State 27. Five plays later, Parker ran it in from the 2.
After David Merrick’s 37-yard field goal made it 10-0, Marshall’s Albert Barber blocked Brad Stevens’ punt. Herd teammate Leron Chapman returned it 5 yards for the score 1:49 left in the first quarter.
But Simmons threw second-quarter touchdown passes of 16 yards to Stan Davis, a backup quarterback who was lined up at receiver, and 3 yards to Robert Kilow as Troy State (12-1-1) cut the deficit to 24-21 at halftime.
Ollie Quass missed a 30-yard field goal wide left against a strong crosswind that would have tied the game at 17 for Troy State in the second quarter.
Godwin, who led Troy State with 33 yards rushing, scored from 1 yard out in the second quarter. The Trojan averaged 216 yards on the ground this season but were held to 127 yards Saturday.
Marshall quarterback Todd Donnan completed 11 of 19 passes for 162 yards, while Simmons hit 13 of 21 passes for 172 yards.