Louisville Cardinals defeat Thundering Herd

The Marshall University Thundering Herd was defeated by the Louisville Cardinals, 59-28, Saturday. This breaks the four game winning streak Marshall had over Louisville.

“There’s no question that’s an excellent team we just got done playing, and that quarterback is a special guy,” Marshall University head coach Doc Holliday said at the post-game press conference Saturday night. “He made a few plays early, and we didn’t make enough plays.”

Louisville entered the contest as the highest ranked team in Football Bowl Subdivision to ever play in Huntington. This changes the overall series to 17-12, favoring the Kentucky-based university.

Heisman trophy front-runner Lamar Jackson was on full display as his dominate play contributed to seven Louisville touchdowns, 417 yards passing and 62 yards rushing. He was aided by Brandon Radcliff, who added 131 yards on the ground and a Louisville touchdown.

The first half was slow to develop as both teams punted on their first drives, but Louisville quickly gained their footing as Lamar Jackson tossed a ball for James Quick. Quick made an easy catch and sauntered into the end zone. It only got worse for the Thundering Herd as Jackson measured up to the Heisman hype, tossing four touchdown passes, running in for another and accounting for every Louisville score.

While the 35-7 halftime score indicated otherwise, the Marshall defense played fairly well. The swarming defense laid multiple hits and hurries on Jackson, attempting to contain his rushing ability. The defense sacked him once and dropped him in the backfield on multiple running attempts. While Jackson was initially kept in check, and his momentum was often disrupted, Jackson still had a knack for finding an explosive play on long third downs.

The second half was more of the same as Louisville completely outclassed the Thundering Herd. Jackson continued to torch Marshall and the Cardinals ended the game with 690 yards of total offense to Marshall’s 207.

The biggest gap may be in passing, as Garet Morrell was forced into his first start because of an undisclosed injury to Chase Litton. Early play calling was designed to protect Morrell, as he only threw five passes for the first 25 minutes of the game, with a few more added prior to halftime.

Morrell connected with Ryan Yurachek to cut the lead to 28- 7 prior to halftime and connected with Keion Davis later in the game, but it was not enough. Louisville out gained the Thundering Herd 417 yards to 59 yards through the air.

“I think we had to earn it more tonight,” Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino said in his post-game press conference. “Their defense did a good job of mixing things up and executing their plan.”

There were a few bright spots for the Thundering Herd. Ty Tyler had a scoop and score as he recovered a fumble caused by Chase Hancock. This is the second game the Thundering Herd defense registered a touchdown and this was Tyler’s second touchdown in only his third career game with the Thundering Herd. Also, Hancock forced a fumble, recovered a different fumble and recorded a sack on Jackson early in the game.

While impressed with Louisville, Holliday was already thinking about next week’s game against the University of Pittsburgh during his post-game press conference.

“They run the ball, they ran the ball well against North Carolina, and they ran it well against Penn State, and that’s their staple,” Coach Holliday said about Pittsburgh in his press conference. “It’ll be a big challenge for us this week.”

Marshall next plays at Heinz Field taking on the Pittsburgh Panthers Oct. 1. The next home game will be Oct. 15 against Florida Atlantic University.

Joseph Ashley can be reached at [email protected] and @Joseph_AshleyMU on Twitter.