Herd football sends seniors out right
HUNTINGTON - All week long, Marshall’s football players talked about sending the team’s 17 seniors out the right way.
On Saturday, the Thundering Herd made sure Senior Day was memorable.
Marshall limited UTSA’s offense to 137 yards, which included a minus-26 total in rushing, as the Herd started strong and never looked back in a 23-0 win over the Roadrunners in front of 18,502 spectators in Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
It was Marshall’s first shutout since Sept. 16, 2017, against Kent State, 21-0, and the first time the Herd limited a team to negative rushing yards since Sept. 9, 2006 in a win over Hofstra.
Quarterback Isaiah Green set a career-high, throwing for 387 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Marshall had two receivers with more than 100 yards. Tyre Brady caught six passes for 162 yards and a touchdown while Obi Obialo caught five passes for 103 yards. It was the Herd’s first time having two receivers eclipse the 100-yard mark since Davonte Allen (141) and Tommy Shuler (132) against Western Kentucky in 2014.
Marshall’s offense outgained UTSA, 505 yards to 137.
The Herd’s lone score of the second half was a 26-yard field goal by Justin Rohrwasser, who connected on three field goals while also recovering a fumble on a kickoff in the first half.
Marshall (7-3, 5-2 Confernce USA) took control early and led 20-0 at halftime when the Herd outgained UTSA, 326 yards to 57.
Green threw for 250 yards in the first half and connected on scoring strikes to Brady and Artie Henry.
The Herd had a slight scoring lull offensively in the second quarter until Green’s 8-yard scoring toss to Henry with 3:00 left extended the lead to three scores. A 21-yard field goal by Rohrwasser sent the teams to the locker room.
It didn’t take long for Marshall to assert itself in all three phases Saturday.
After UTSA’s first drive netted zero yards Marshall methodically drove inside the 10-yard line before settling for a 26-yard field goal from Rohrwasser.
It wouldn’t take long for the Herd to find the end zone soon after, however.
On the ensuing kickoff, Marshall’s Chase Hancock forced a fumble that Rohrwasser recovered and Green went up top to Brady for a 37-yard score on the first play following the takeaway to give the Herd 10 points in a 13-second span. Brady caught five passes for 164 yards and a touchdown in the early going.
Marshall’s first four drives started at midfield or better as the defense asserted its dominance early. The Herd did not allow UTSA (3-8, 2-5) a first down until 12:09 of the second quarter.
If there was a concern for the Herd it was the performance of the offense in the score zone early in the game.
All eight of Marshall’s first-half drives ended in UTSA territory and the Herd had just four scores -- two touchdowns and two field goals. The Herd offense drove inside the 10-yard line twice, but stalled out to settle for field goals while also having a field goal blocked and missing another.
Marshall’s offense was a bit stagnant early, but the defense had no such issues, limiting UTSA to negative yards rushing in the first half and only three first downs.
UTSA quarterback Bryce Rivers came on in relief of starter Jordan Weeks and finished 16 of 31 for 158 passing yards and an interception. Marshall registered five quarterback sacks -- led by a pair from Omari Cobb -- to keep pressure on the Roadrunners’ passing game.
Marshall hits the road for its current scheduled regular-season finale when the Herd takes on FIU at noon Saturday in Boca Raton, Florida.
There is the potential for another Dec. 1 matchup in the works with Virginia Tech that could also be played.