Marshall ends losing skid with win over ODU

Marshall University football snapped a two-game losing skid by rushing its way to a 31-17 victory over Old Dominion, improving to 3-3 (1-1 Conference-USA).

“I am proud of our players for the way they bounced back and the level of their play,” Head Coach Doc Holliday said. “At the end of the day we protected the ball and scored in the red zone and that gave us the chance to win.”

The Thundering Herd’s offensive unit dominated the line of scrimmage throughout the game, paving the way for a total of 236 rushing yards. This marks the most allowed this season by Old Dominion.

“I would like to say we did our job,” redshirt junior offensive lineman Alex Mollette said. “It pumps us up when our running backs go for extra yards after contact and drive the whole pile. That gives us an extra edge and momentum that’s a big part of the game.”

After stalling on its first drive of the game and being forced to punt, redshirt sophomore quarterback Isaiah Green marched the Herd down the field on its second possession. Freshman wide receiver Broc Thompson helped spark the offense on a couple of long receptions from Green of 14 and 15-yards.

“I think it came down to just how bad I wanted to win,” Thompson said. “I am not all that in to personal stats, I just want to win.”

When the Herd got into Old Dominion territory, redshirt junior tight end Xavier Gaines completed a 33-yard pass to Thompson that went down to the 1-yard line on a statue of liberty trick play. Green then tossed it to redshirt sophomore tight end Devin Miller for the 1-yard touchdown to cap off a 12 play 94-yard drive, propelling Marshall to a 7-0 lead.

Green found success in the second quarter, rushing for a 17-yard quarterback option keeper to put his team up 14-0. The Herd quarterback’s success continued on the ground throughout the game as he finished with 59-yards on 11 carries and one touchdown as well as 175-yards and one touchdown through the air.

The Monarchs found offensive momentum with junior quarterback Messiah deWeaver after he and junior quarterback Stone Smartt rotated series to begin the game. deWeaver lobbed a pass over the Marshall defense midway through the second quarter to put ODU on the board 7-14.

Redshirt senior kicker Justin Rohrwasser nailed a career long 45-yard field goal to put Marshall up 17-7 with 11 seconds remaining in the half. However, on the ensuing kickoff redshirt freshman Blake Watson of ODU took the kick back 75-yards out of bounds with one tick left on the scoreboard. Monarch’s junior kicker Nick Rice hit a 39-yard field goal bringing the Monarchs 10-17 at half time.

The offensive lineman kept moving the Monarch defense in the second half, providing plenty of holes and opportunities for Marshall running backs. The two Marshall touchdowns in the second half came from another trick end-around play that resulted in redshirt junior Willie Johnson scoring from 27-yards out and from sophomore running back Brenden Knox late in the fourth quarter running through defenders for a six-yard score.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Herd provided pressure throughout the entire game. Marshall had eight total sacks: the most since seven were recorded on Sept. 16, 2017 against Kent State. Redshirt sophomore Darius Hodge led the unit and tied Marshall’s sack record for a game with four and a half.

“We are going to need that out of him (Hodge) the rest of the season,” Holliday said. “He is a talented guy that is good off of the edge and it was great to see that out him.”

Holliday’s team will have a short week for the second time this season as they take on Florida Atlantic University on Friday, Oct. 18 at FAU Stadium.

Brigham Warf can be contacted at [email protected].