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Marshall football blows 10-point lead, falls at NC State 37-20

NC+State+redshirt+junior+quarterback+Ryan+Finley+looks+over+to+the+Wolfpack+sideline+for+the+play+in+a+goal+line+situation+against+Marshall+at+Carter-Finley+Stadium+in+Raleigh%2C+N.C.+Saturday%2C+Sept.+9.+The+Thundering+Herd+led+20-10+with+5%3A07+remaining+in+the+first+half%2C+but+allowed+the+Wolfpack+to+score+27-unanswered+points+and+lost+37-20.
NC State redshirt junior quarterback Ryan Finley looks over to the Wolfpack sideline for the play in a goal line situation against Marshall at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C. Saturday, Sept. 9. The Thundering Herd led 20-10 with 5:07 remaining in the first half, but allowed the Wolfpack to score 27-unanswered points and lost 37-20.

NC State redshirt junior quarterback Ryan Finley looks over to the Wolfpack sideline for the play in a goal line situation against Marshall at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C. Saturday, Sept. 9. The Thundering Herd led 20-10 with 5:07 remaining in the first half, but allowed the Wolfpack to score 27-unanswered points and lost 37-20.

Richard Crank

Richard Crank

NC State redshirt junior quarterback Ryan Finley looks over to the Wolfpack sideline for the play in a goal line situation against Marshall at Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C. Saturday, Sept. 9. The Thundering Herd led 20-10 with 5:07 remaining in the first half, but allowed the Wolfpack to score 27-unanswered points and lost 37-20.

Adam Rogers, Sports Editor

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Marshall football let a double-digit first half lead escape its grasps and allowed NC State to leave Carter-Finley Stadium with a 37-20 win Saturday night.

The Thundering Herd (1-1) led the Wolfpack 20-10 with 5:07 remaining in the first half after junior quarterback Chase Litton hooked up with redshirt junior wide receiver Tyre Brady for a 75-yard passing score.

Marshall had practically stunned the Wolfpack (1-1) fan base, but NC State’s players did not back down from the Herd.

The Pack went on to score 27-unanswered points starting on the immediate following drive.

NC State scored twice before the half ended on 39 and 34-yard scoring receptions by Jaylen Samuels and Kelvin Harmon from Ryan Finley to give the Wolfpack a 23-20 halftime lead.

“We’re not proud, obviously. Not the outcome we wanted,” Litton said. “We can’t expect to beat a big-time team like that and put up no points on the board in the

second half.”

“Obviously really disappointed with the outcome,” Herd head coach Doc Holliday said. “I thought our kids played extremely hard – played their hearts out. Unfortunately, there at the end we just ran out of time. That’s an excellent team there, give credit to NC State. (I) thought it was a hell of a football game and it was a physical game. Our guys made some plays, they just made a few more than we did at the end.”

Not only did NC State make more plays than Marshall did down the stretch, but it also did not kill itself with untimely penalties like the Herd did.

Marshall racked up nine penalties for 86 yards, with one wiping off the scoreboard what would have been a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown from redshirt junior Keion Davis (which would have been his third kickoff return score of the year).

“We got a touchdown called back for a damn penalty. We had too many in the second half,” Holliday said. “They didn’t call any the first half. I don’t know how many we had in the second half, but it was way too many. We have a kickoff return for a touchdown called back and we’re down in there and have a personal foul – we’re getting ready to score there again. We just had too many mistakes there in the second half that took points off the board.”

The bright spot for the offense came from Brady’s play on the outside at receiver.

He shattered the Carter-Finley Stadium record for any player in a game with 248 receiving yards on just 11 catches. The previous record was set by former Wolfpack wide out Jerricho Cotchery with 217 yards against the North Carolina Tar Heels in 2003.

“We made a concerted effort to get him the ball today,” Holliday said. “I though Chase did a good job throwing the ball and he did a good job of making plays.”

“I wasn’t really paying attention to the stats,” Brady said. “I was just trying to help my teammates in whatever way I could, so they could count on me.”

Brady can down-play it all he wants, but he was just 40 yards shy of former Herd Heisman Trophy finalist Randy Moss’ school record of 288 yards in a single game, which he set against Delaware in Marshall’s 59-14 1996 Division I-AA playoff first round win.

The Herd’s offensive line set Brady up for that success because of the time it gave Litton to work through his progressions around the field, despite losing starting redshirt junior left guard Jordan Dowrey early in the game.

Redshirt freshman Alex Mollette and senior AJ Addison were forced to step up and take extra reps with Dowrey out against a defensive front considered by many to be the best front four in the NCAA.

“You’ve got four NFL guys up there,” Holliday said. “It’s the best defensive front seven in the ACC, and I thought our guys fought their ass off. I thought that offensive line fought the whole game and at times blocked them pretty well.”

The offensive line blocked well enough for most of the game to keep Marshall within two scores, but gave up an 11-yard sack to Bradley Chubb in the fourth quarter and ended the Herd’s drive.

“Our offensive line played their ass off and gave me everything I needed,” Litton said. “Coaches put me in great situations to succeed and, again, we’ve got to finish. Our defense game us time and time again to win this game and as an offense we’ve got to continue to get better.”

Just as last week, Marshall’s quarterback put much of the blame for the offense’s execution on his shoulders.

“I didn’t finish,” Litton said. “I had a throw to Tyre that I should have finished and I put too much on it. It didn’t suck the air out of us, we were supposed to come back and make another play and we didn’t.”

Although the Thundering Herd did not come out on the other side of the game with a win, it still has a lot left to play for this season with 10 games still remaining on the schedule.

“I told the team in the locker room ‘I like this team. We’ve got a hell of a football team,’” Holliday said. “I like what their all about…they came and played their tails off…did everything we asked them to do. If they continue to do what we ask them to do, they’ll be fine.”

Marshall now turns its attention to its next game against former Mid-American Conference foe Kent State. Kickoff between the Thundering Herd and Golden Flashes from Joan C. Edwards Stadium is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET Saturday, Sept. 16.

Adam Rogers can be contacted at [email protected]

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