Litton and the Herd win big

The Chase Litton era began Saturday as the Marshall University football team defeated Norfolk State University, 45-7.
Litton, a true freshman, made his first collegiate start, completing 24 of 31 passes for 270 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions.
“For first games and the guy getting his feet wet and a true freshman and all those things, I thought he handled it extremely well,” head coach Doc Holliday said. “He took what the defense gave us, made the throws, got the ball where it was supposed to go, and played pretty well for a young freshman.”
Despite his age, offensive coordinator Bill Legg handed the reigns to Litton from the start of the game with three straight pass plays.
After two short passes, facing a 3rd and long on his first drive, Litton zipped a pass to wide receiver Justin Hunt on a slant pattern for 13 yards and a first down. On the team’s opening drive, Litton completed all five of his passes for 35 yards leading to a Nick Smith field goal.
“We tried to get him started with some completions and we did,” Holliday said.
By the end of the first quarter, the Herd had secured the lead and Litton connected with Deandre Reaves, who made his first start at slot receiver, from 13 yards out for his first career touchdown pass.
Litton and Reaves hooked up once again for a second touchdown with 11:14 to play in the second quarter, giving the Herd a 17-7 lead.
“When I threw it, you can kind of see by my body language that I thought I overthrew him,” Litton said. “And he made a tremendous grab. He made me look good on that play and I’m thankful for it.”
After Marshall entered the half with a 24-7 lead, Litton added two more touchdown passes in the second half, displaying both his ability to read the defense and downfield ball placement in the process.
On his first touchdown pass of the second half, Litton recognized the blitz from Norfolk State and unloaded the ball to receiver Devonte Allen on a slant route after Allen slipped the jam coverage of the defensive back.
In the fourth quarter, Litton connected on his fourth and final touchdown when he lofted a pass to Justin Hunt, giving Hunt the opportunity to go up and make a play on the ball.
In Michael Birdsong’s two starts, the Herd wide receivers accumulated 189 yards and zero touchdowns, compared to 214 yards and four touchdowns in Litton’s first start.
“I think we got pretty good wideouts,” Holliday said. “And we got to find a way to get the ball in their hands.”
Litton, who tied the program’s record of four touchdown passes in a quarterback’s first start, said his teammates are to credit for his performance.
“When the offensive line does what they do, it makes my job easy,” Litton said. “When our receivers run the routes they do and make the plays they do, it’s easier on me.”
Marshall’s next  is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday against Kent State University in Kent, Ohio.
Holliday has yet to announce the starting quarterback for the game.
Bradley Heltzel can be contacted at [email protected].