NC State hands Marshall first loss


Rick Farlow

Marshall head coach Doc Holliday heads for the locker room at halftime of the Herd’s season opener against Miami (Ohio).

In front of the 12th-largest crowd in Joan C. Edwards Stadium’s history, NC State football defeated Marshall 37-20 Saturday and improved to 3-0 on the season. With the loss, the Herd moved to 2-1.

NC State’s graduate quarterback Ryan Finley completed 23 of his 40 pass attempts for a season-high 377 yards in his winning effort.

“They have good receivers and a quarterback that is an excellent player,” Marshall head coach Doc Holliday said. “Our guys were all over them at times and they made some good plays, we just didn’t make enough of them.”

NC State took a 3-0 lead late in the first quarter off a 30-yard field goal by freshman kicker Christopher Dunn. After holding Marshall scoreless in the first, the Wolfpack extended its lead to 10-0 with one-yard rushing touchdown by senior running back Reggie Gallaspy.

Marshall quickly responded with its first points of the game, however. Within a minute of NC State’s touchdown, Marshall senior wide receiver Marcel Williams reached the end zone on an 82-yard pass from redshirt freshman quarterback Isaiah Green. The Herd trailed 10-7.

“(Green) is a freshman, you are going to go through some growing pains,” Holliday said. “He hung in there, he is a competitor. I’m sure there are a couple of those deals that he would like to have back and so would we but, as we mentioned, he made some throws and he will get better every week.”

Green completed 22 of his 43 pass attempts 270 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Green posted his lowest-career totals against the Wolfpack.

“[Green] is just built different,” redshirt senior running back Keion Davis said. “Just because he wasn’t having his way tonight doesn’t mean bad things are going to continue to happen.”

After Marshall pulled within three points of the Wolfpack, NC State responded with 13 unanswered points. The Wolfpack used a 32-yard field goal, another one-yard Gallaspy touchdown run and a 26-yard field goal to jump out to a 23-7 lead at halftime.

Marshall started the scoring in the second half when redshirt junior kicker Justin Rohrwasser hit a 32-yard field goal. The Herd showed life on the ensuing kickoff when redshirt sophomore linebacker Jaquan Yulee forced NC State redshirt sophomore wide receiver C.J. Riley to fumble the return with a hard hit.  Redshirt senior linebacker Artis Johnson recovered the fumble and returned it for a Herd touchdown. Marshall cut NC State’s lead to six during the sequence.

“We have been practicing all these techniques,” Yulee said. “The guy tried to face me head up and I just threw him out of the way. When I saw Johnson had the ball I said nobody is going to catch him so I just started celebrating.”

NC State responded again, though, as sophomore wide receiver Emeka Emezie received a 30-yard touchdown pass from Finley with 7:24 left in the third quarter. Marshall kicked a field goal to bring the score to 30-20 but didn’t score again for the rest of the contest.

NC State cushioned its lead with 28 seconds left in the third quarter when redshirt junior safety Jarius Morehead came up with a 57-yard pick-six off a Green pass. The Wolfpack took a 37-20 lead into the fourth quarter, which proved final, as neither team scored for the remainder of the game.

“We just have to get better as a team overall,” Holliday said. “All three phases and get better and get ready to go play Western Kentucky.”

The Herd begins in-conference play against WKU Saturday in Bowling Green.

Sydney Shelton can be contacted at [email protected]