Using the passing game of Grant Wells, Marshall football was able to improve to 2-0 with a 44-10 victory over North Carolina Central. Despite the overwhelming win and 700 yards of total offense, head coach Charles Huff was not pleased with his team’s performance.
“If we keep doing what we’re doing, we’re going to be in the same situation, (as 2020),” Huff said. “We’ll be talking about woulda, coulda, shoulda. I hope, and think our guys see that.”
Huff referred to a few bobbled snaps in the first quarter, as well as Grant Wells’s interception at the goal line.
“We definitely weren’t as efficient as we wanted to be,” Wells said. “We came out slow and when you come out slow, it takes time to get things rolling.”
After the slow start, the Marshall offense picked up the pace in the second quarter. Wells threw three touchdown passes in the quarter. Two went to redshirt sophomore wide receiver Talik Keaton, who finished with three receptions for 73 yards. The other Wells touchdown pass went to redshirt freshman running back Rasheen Ali. Ali recorded 92 total yards and led the Herd in receptions with eight. Wells finished the game with four total touchdowns and a career high of 347 passing yards.
NC Central would get its only touchdown of the contest in the second quarter, mainly because of a muffed punt by Keaton. The Eagles were set up with good field position at Marshall’s 10-yard line. On third down, Quarterback Davius Richard found Marshall transfer Mookie Collier from four yards out to get the Eagles on the board. Marshall outscored 24-7 in the 2nd quarter to take a commanding 30-7 lead into the half.
Linebacker Charlie Gray led Marshall to another solid defensive performance. Gray finished with a team high six tackles including a sack, forced fumble and a fumble recovery. NC Central only managed 177 yards of offense in the contest.
Coach Huff gave several starters some rest and gave the backups a lot of reps. Wells exited the game late in the third quarter, giving way to backup Luke Zban. The Huntington native completed six of his eight pass attempts for 84 yards and an interception. Running backs Knowledge McDaniel and Ethan Payne saw their first action of the season late in the second half as well. McDaniel rushed for a team high 67 yards. Payne totaled 38 yards on the ground including Marshall’s final touchdown of the contest, and Payne’s first in a Thundering Herd uniform.
“Don’t look at the result,” Huff said. “It’s not about the result, but how we play. If we can continue to get better and play better the results will take care of themselves. I take full responsibility. I’ll be better next week; I promise you that.”
Marshall returns to action at 6 p.m. Saturday against the East Carolina Pirates at Joan C. Edwards Stadium. The game can be heard on Marshall’s student radio station, WMUL 88.1 FM.