No. 16 Marshall trounces Middle Tennessee State, 42-14
Freshman quarterback Grant Wells threw for 336 yards and five touchdowns Saturday as No. 16 Marshall pulled away from Middle Tennessee State in the third quarter for a 42-14 Conference USA win at Edwards Stadium in Huntington, W.Va.
Wells completed 25 of 37 passes with no interceptions as the Thundering Herd improved to 7-0 overall and 4-0 in the conference. Marshall outgained the Blue Raiders (2-6, 2-4) 520-303, despite running back Brenden Knox being held to a season-low 70 yards on 16 carries.
Sophomore quarterback Asher O’Hara hit on 29 of 44 passes for 241 yards with a touchdown for Middle Tennessee and also led the team in rushing with 39 yards and a score on 11 carries. But his efforts weren’t enough for the Blue Raiders to solve one of the nation’s top defenses.
Wells gave the Herd an early lead with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Willie Johnson at the 7:18 mark of the first quarter.
O’Hara led a game-tying 73-yard scoring drive early in the second quarter, aided by consecutive Marshall penalties that bailed Middle Tennessee out of third-and-10. O’Hara finished it with a 4-yard touchdown strike to Jarrin Pierce.
However, Marshall struck late in the half with two scores. Two plays after hitting Johnson with a 44-yard pass to the 5, Wells found Hayden Hagler for a 1-yard touchdown with 3:08 remaining. Wells then cashed in on a short field created by a strip-sack, driving the team 47 yards and hitting Corey Gammage with a 17-yard strike 32 seconds before intermission.
The lead increased to 28-7 on Wells’ 28-yard pass to Gammage 3:28 into the third quarter. O’Hara scored on a 2-yard run at the 6:51 mark to get the Blue Raiders within 14 points, but the Herd added a 26-yard touchdown jaunt by Sheldon Evans and Wells’ 23-yard scoring pass to Johnson.
Marshall wore all-black uniforms and the number 75 on its helmets to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of the plane crash that killed 75 people on Nov. 14, 1970, on a flight home from a game at East Carolina.
–Field Level Media