Knox, Thundering Herd defense send seniors off in OT fashion with win over FIU


Richard Crank

Brenden Knox carries the ball for the herd

The Marshall University football team sent its 17 seniors out of the Joan C. Edwards Stadium for the final time Saturday afternoon against the Florida International Panthers in an overtime win, 30-27.

Herd Head Football Coach Doc Holliday collected his 71st win over FBS opponents, passing former head coach Bob Pruett who had 70 wins.

“I thought our guys kept fighting,” Holliday said. “In a game like that, you win it or you lose it, and you just hope at the end of the day you step up and find a way to win the game.”

Sophomore running back Brenden Knox rushed 33 times for 146 yards and had one touchdown for the Herd to help secure the win.

“It was the offensive line not taking no for an answer in any situation we faced,” Knox said. “And that’s really what it all came down to. Everybody else just had to match their mentality. That’s really it.”

Marshall finished its regular season 8-4 (6-2 Conference USA) and FIU finished with a 6-6 (3-5 C-USA) record.

“We knew we were going to face some adversity in this game,” Marshall sophomore quarterback Isaiah Green said. “We have to find a way to overcome it and find a way to win it, and we did.”

Throughout the first quarter, both teams bobbled back and forth as neither offense could score.

It was not until the second quarter that both Marshall and FIU began to score.

Redshirt senior kicker Justin Rohrwasser gave the Herd an early 3-0 lead with a successful 38-yard field goal. Then, FIU’s Maxwell Napoleon ran a one-yard touchdown (Jose Borregales kick) to put the Panthers on top 3-7. Redshirt junior Xavier Gaines completed a 20-yard run (Rohrwasser kick) for another Herd touchdown and regained the lead, 10-7, going into halftime.

Marshall was the only team that scored in the third quarter, coming off Green’s one-yard touchdown run (Rohrwasser kick) to extend the Herd’s lead 17-7.

FIU quickly answered in the fourth quarter as Anthony Jones completed a nine-yard run (Borregales kick) to put the Panthers back on the scoreboard only trailing by three, 17-14.

Twelve seconds later, the Panthers responded again as the defense forced Marshall’s Green to fumble, regaining possession of the ball. Wide receiver Tony Gaiter IV caught a 22-yard pass from quarterback James Morgan (Borregales kick) to give FIU lead of the game, 17-21.

Marshall reacted when Gaines received an 18-yard pass from Green (Rohrwasser kick) to take the lead 24-21.With 21 seconds left in the game, FIU’s Borregales nailed a 41-yard field goal to tie the game 24-24 and head into overtime.

After the Herd won the overtime toss, and they decided to play defense first in overtime. Marshall’s defense held the Panther’s offense to scoring on a 35-yard field goal made by Borregales to give FIU the lead 24-27.

Once Marshall reclaimed possession, Knox rushed in a one-yard touchdown to give the Herd the 30-27 win on Senior Day.

Senior linebacker Omari Cobb led the Herd in tackles with 10. Sophomore defensive back Steven Gilmore and redshirt junior linebacker Tavante Beckett each had eight. Redshirt junior safety Nazeeh Johnson had six.

Now, the Herd awaits its destiny as the team prepares for a post-season bowl game.

Taylor Huddleston can be contacted at [email protected].