Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

Marshall University's Student Newspaper

The Parthenon

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Marshall Football Wins ‘75’ Memorial Game

Rasheen+Ali+attempts+to+hurdle+a+defender.
Alex Cooksey
Rasheen Ali attempts to hurdle a defender.

The Marshall Football Team defeated the Georgia Southern Eagles 38-33 in a back-and-forth style matchup on Saturday, Nov. 11, in front of the 19,175 fans who were in attendance for the annual 75 memorial game.

The contest was filled with big plays and five lead changes, all of which ultimately pulled the Herd within one win of being bowl eligible and ended the five-game losing streak.

“I’m really proud of their competitive spirit, and I’m really proud of their effort,” football head coach Charles Huff said.    “Hopefully, the 75 in heaven are smiling today, and I hope that tailgate for the 75 Herd members was pleased with how we played.”

The Herd opened up the action on the first play of the game. Marshall kick returner and wide receiver Jayden Harrison received the opening kickoff and busted through the holes in the Georgia Southern kick coverage to go 98 yards and put the Herd up 7-0 in mere seconds.

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Running back Rasheen Ali said that the kickoff return set the tone for the Herd going into the game.

“We’re a team that feeds off energy, so once that energy was set, the energy was through the roof,” Ali said. “That was a great way to start the game.”

Ali lit up the box score on Saturday night, tallying 165 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Receiver DeMarcus Harris also shined under the lights accounting for four catches and 147 yards.

Harris’ 147 yards made up the majority of redshirt freshman Cole Pennington’s 201 passing yards. Pennington made his first career start for the Herd and found his groove, completing 15 out of 20 passes and making passes to nine different receivers.

“This one feels great,” Pennington said. “I’m just really proud of this team. I’m proud of how we came out today and played to the final whistle. They played their hearts out. We kept clawing and scratching the whole game.”

The Herd went up 17-10 in the second quarter after receiver Caleb McMillan took a designed wide receiver run 21 yards into the endzone. Despite the lead, Marshall gave up 10 unanswered points, including a 47-yard touchdown pass and went into halftime down three.

Ali, accompanied by the offensive line, came out rumbling in the second half. Ali accounted for a two-yard and a big 55-yard touchdown in the second half.

The most crucial of Ali’s three touchdown runs came in the fourth quarter after the defense halted the Georgia Southern offense inside of its own ten-yard line, forcing a turnover on downs.

Ali scampered nine yards in the endzone to tally his third touchdown of the game and made it a two-score game in the late stages of the contest.

The Herd defense was led by J.J. Roberts in tackles with 11, followed closely behind by Eli Neal with nine and two for a loss.

This win came at a crucial point of the season and meant more to the players as well as the fans.

“To be able to win and give these fans and the people in this community that cheer so hard – they go hard for us, and, for some of these people, that tragedy in 1970 still lingers on today, so just to go be able to win and play hard for them was amazing,” Neal said.

Marshall travels to Mobile, Alabama on Saturday, Nov. 18, for its final away game to face off with the South Alabama Jaguars.

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