Herd wins fifth straight game with career day from Foster


Marshall University football player Hyleck Foster was named the team’s staring slot receiver at the start of the season, but after a few weeks, Foster lost his starting spot to redshirt senior Deandre Reaves.

However, the sophomore receiver maintained his duties as the team’s punt returner until he struggled against Norfolk State University in the third game of the season.

After three weeks of being on the sideline, Foster remerged as a playmaker Saturday in the team’s 33-17 victory over Florida Atlantic University.

Foster, who played running back in high school, returned to the position and rushed for 122 yards on 17 carries against the Owls, including a 66-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

Freshman quarterback Chase Litton said he was impressed with Foster’s ability to make plays even when nothing appeared to be available.

“There were a lot of plays that weren’t open and he made them open,” Litton said. “He had a couple quick triggers of cutting back, but the other times he cut back, he made plays from them. I just like his vision. He’s very talented at that position.”

Foster was not the only member of the Herd gaining yards on the ground Saturday as the team compiled 326 rushing yards.

Running backs Devon Johnson, Remi Watson and Keion Davis each had over 50 yards rushing with the trio totaling 208 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 25 attempts.

While the coaching staff utilized the skill sets of multiple backs, one component of Marshall’s ground attack remained consistent — the offensive line.

“We just went out and did our job and did it right,” junior center Michael Selby said. “We were really physical and we just got after it the whole game from snap one to the last snap of the game. We were able to control the line of scrimmage which was really good.”

Despite being without All-Conference selection right tackle Clint Van Horn for the second consecutive week, the Herd offensive line consistently opened up lanes for Herd runners.

“They were opening up holes anybody could run through,” sophomore tight end Ryan Yuracheck said. “Anytime you run for 300 yards, you can’t say enough about how well the offensive played, no matter how good the running backs are you got back there.”

Running lanes came early and often as Johnson burst through the B-gap for a 75-yard touchdown run on the game’s second play from scrimmage after senior left guard Sebastian Johansson and sophomore left tackle Sandley Jean-Felix paved an opening for Johnson.

Johnson finished the day with 83 yards and a touchdown on three carries.

After a Florida Atlantic field goal and a safety by Marshall redshirt freshman defensive tackle Nyquan Harris, running back Remi Watson received a trio of effective blocks from the pulling combination of Selby and sophomore guard Cody Collins, while wide receiver Deon-Tay McManus also chipped in a nice downfield block.

Watson scored a touchdown from a yard out a few plays later to extend the lead to 16-3 at the beginning of the second quarter.

A mistake from quarterback Chase Litton with jsut under 5 minutes remaining in the second quarter resulted in a 95-yard interception return touchdown for the Owls, cutting the lead to 16-10.

“I can’t make those mistakes.” Litton said. “I just came to the sideline mad at myself, not really mad at throwing the interception, but really mad at we needed those seven points, we needed those three points.”

Litton responded on the following drive, completing all four of his passes for 51 yards, including a 22-yard touchdown pass to Davonte Allen down the sideline, giving Marshall a 23-10 advantage at halftime.

Litton finished the day 17-28 for 174 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

After a series of punts to begin the second half, Foster’s 66-yard run touchdown run extended Marshall’s lead to 30-10. The play developed much in the same manner as Watson’s 38-yarder in the first quarter with Selby and Johansson pulling as wide receiver Justin Hunt made a down block inside.

Florida Atlantic managed a touchdown in late in the third quarter to make it a 30-17 game, but the Herd controlled the ball for 13:02 in the fourth quarter with a pair of lengthy drives, one of which resulted in a field goal.

Marshall will return to Joan C. Edwards Stadium for 3:30 Saturday for its homecoming game against the University of North Texas.

Bradley Heltzel can be contacted at [email protected].