Marshall Herd stampedes over VMI Keydets in home opener


Richard Crank

Brendon Knox carries the ball for the Herd.

The Marshall Thundering Herd kicked off its 2019 football season Saturday against the Virginia Military Institute Keydets where Marshall won the game 56-17 while gaining over 600 yards of offense.

Marshall is now 1-0 on the season and VMI falls to 0-1.

“I thought the first half was pretty clean,” Head Football Coach Doc Holliday said. “We played a lot of players the second half so it was not as clean, but it was great to see some of those young kids make some of those plays today.”

Marshall and VMI both started the game off slowly by having a punting war almost the entire first quarter. This ended when Marshall’s redshirt sophomore quarterback Isaiah Green connected with redshirt junior wide receiver Willie Johnson for a 29-yard touchdown pass.

VMI remained unable to answer on its next drive and forced a punt to the Herd. Redshirt first-year Talik Keaton returned that punt, 67-yards to the house for another Marshall touchdown and gave the Herd a 14-0 lead going into the second quarter.

Keaton said being part of the play was amazing.

“It’s the greatest feeling ever,” Keaton said.

Green kept going strong to start the second quarter by throwing a 51-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Artie Henry.

VMI did not take long to answer back with a touchdown of its own. Junior quarterback Reece Udinski threw his own 50-yard touchdown pass to senior wide receiver Javeon Lara. Bringing the Keydets closer to the Herd with the score 21-7 and 13 minutes left in the second quarter.

Green threw another touchdown pass, this time to redshirt junior Xavier Gaines. Marshall squeezed in another touchdown before halftime with a one-yard run by redshirt sophomore Brenden Knox. Heading into the half, Marshall lead VMI 35-7.

To start the third quarter, Marshall’s Green threw another touchdown pass, this one being a 33-yard throw to redshirt freshman Corey Gammage. The third quarter was the slowest quarter of the game with the Herd only scoring one more time with Knox getting another rushing touchdown from a yard out. Marshall headed into the fourth quarter with a commanding 49-7 lead of the Keydets of VMI.

VMI kept fighting in the fourth quarter and showed no signs of quitting. Senior kicker Grant Clemons chipped in a 28-yard field goal for the Keydets and freshman quarterback Seth Morgan finished the scoring for the day with a three-yard run.

Marshall got the last punch of the night through when redshirt junior Garet Morrell caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from redshirt senior Alex Thomson giving Marshall the 56-17 victory.

“We got to get better. We have a quick turn around and tomorrow is a Monday to us,” Holliday said in regard to preparing for its Friday game next week.

Marshall heads to the Albertson Stadium at Boise State at 9 p.m. EST Friday, Sept 6.

Mike Dotson can be contacted at [email protected].