Marshall football fall short on senior day

The Marshall Thundering Herd football team came up just short on senior day Saturday at Joan C. Edwards stadium against the Southern Miss Golden Eagles with a final score of 28-27.

The classic Conference USA matchup between the Thundering Herd and the Golden Eagles came down to the last seconds as Chase Litton stormed the offense down the field and Ryan Yurachek caught what seemed to be the game-tying touchdown. However, a bobbled snap on the extra point forced the Herd to leave a point on the board. The ensuing onside kick was recovered by the Golden Eagles in which they ran the remaining clock down.

“We thought going into the game it was going to be a fight and that’s what it was,” Head Coach Doc Holliday said. “Unfortunately, we turned the ball over three times, and when we do that, we can’t win football games.”

Senior Ryan Yurachek made Herd history Saturday afternoon as he passed Cody Slate on the schools all-time touchdowns for a tight end with 24 total in his career. Yurachek was a key performer in the game, hauling in three touchdowns, one of them being the one-handed grab in the back of the end zone on the Herds last drive of the game to cut it to 27-28.

“It’s not just me out there,” Yurachek said when asked about his personal achievements. “There’s a lot of other guys there that played very well and gave us the chance to have the last drive at the end.”

Yurachek, being a senior, played his last game in Joan C. Edwards stadium Saturday, but will forever be remembered as a Herd great.

“It stings that that was the way I had to go out in the Joan, but fortunately we put ourselves in position to go and play one more game,” Yurachek said.

The Herd relied on the arm of Chase Litton much of the game when the run game didn’t seem to work against the heavy front of Southern Miss. The first touchdown was a dime delivered by Litton to Willie Johnson for a 26-yard touchdown to even the contest at 7 a piece. The Herd evened the game up at half 14-14 when Litton floated a ball over a defender’s hand and right in Yurachek’s grasp.

Litton picked up where he left off in the second half, starting with a play action fake that left Yurachek wide open in the end zone, propelling the Herd to it’s first lead of the game at 21-14.

Southern Miss had a solid night running the ball as Ito Smith recorded 150 yards and a touchdown in the game. Yet, it was Allenzae Staggers of the Golden Eagles who had two consecutive receiving touchdowns to put Southern Miss at 28-21.

“We win as a team, and we lose a team,” Herd defender Chase Hancock said. “It shouldn’t have came down to that last play, but it did, and we just have to keep our heads up.”

Marshall finishes its regular season with an overall record of 7-5 and a conference record of 4-4. The Herd is bowl eligible this season and will get another chance to play when they find out what bowl and whom they play in the ensuing weeks.

“I’m grateful to have a bowl game to look forward to this year,” senior Hyleck Foster said.” “I’ve only got one more game left in a Herd uniform, so I’m going to make it my best.”

Brigham Warf can be contacted at [email protected].