Players not satisfied with Homecoming victory

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Players not satisfied with Homecoming victory

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Despite defeating the University of North Texas 30-13 Saturday in its Homecoming game, members of Marshall University’s football team were not satisfied with the team’s performance.

Freshman quarterback Chase Litton said he places the responsibility of the team’s less-than-stellar play on himself.

“I got to get better,” Litton said. “There are throws I didn’t make; there are reads I didn’t make. We just got to get better. I got to get with these guys more. And we got to focus up and watch more film and spend more time just trying to perfect our craft. Once that gets better then we’ll be a good team. But until then, we can’t play like that against these other teams coming up or we are going to get beat.”

Litton, who completed 19 of his 34 passes for 189 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions, had the offense off to a quick start in the first quarter quarter as the Herd racked up 178 yards on its first three drives, resulting in two touchdowns and a field goal.

However, over the course of the remaining three quarters, the offense totaled just 224 yards and 13 points with four three-and-outs.

“I think we came out in the second half a little flat,” sophomore running back Hyleck Foster said.

The Herd managed just two field goals in the second half, but overall, the offense was aided by Foster’s productivity as he eclipsed the 100-yard mark on the ground for the second consecutive game after rushing for 122 yards last week against Florida Atlantic University.

Foster, who carried the ball 17 times for 105 yards and a touchdown, said his offensive line was integral component of his success against North Texas.

“The offensive lineman, give credit to the offensive line,” Foster said. “They did a hell of a job upfront, just getting a body on a body and letting me read their butts, and then I just take it from there.”

The offensive line opened running lanes for senior running back Remi Watson as well, who amassed 83 yards and a touchdown.

In total, the Herd rushed for 213 yards, giving it a sum of 539 rush yards the past two weeks.

While the offense was clicking early before sputtering later on in the contest, the defense’s performance was consistent throughout with the exception of a 93-yard touchdown drive by North Texas in the final minutes against the Marshall backups.

“I think defensively, we were able to get some pressure on (the quarterback) at times,” head coach Doc Holliday said. “I thought the secondary, again, did a good job of not creating separation and taking away the easy-access throws. There was a lot of run-pass option stuff, and I think we took away the easy-access throws, which forced them to run the ball a little bit.”

Although the defense had just two sacks in the game, via Ryan Bee and Blake Keller, Marshall was credited with 20 quarterback hits. Bee accumlated eight tackles, a sack, 1.5 tackles for loss, a batted ball and five quarterback hits.

“(The defensive line) always gets told ‘get to (the quarterback) and hit him, and eventually he’ll stop looking at the receivers and start looking at the rush,’” Bee said.

The pressure generated by Bee and the Herd front may have disrupted the vision of North Texas quarterback DaMarcus Smith, but Marshall senior safety Taj Letman said the secondary also assisted in the defensive lines production.

“We did a good job in coverage,” Letman said. “We probably had like three or two coverage sacks.”

The combination of the pressured applied by the Marshall front seven and the tight coverage of the secondary forced North Texas quarterback DaMarcus Smith to throw 22 incompletions and an interception, which came courtesy of senior linebacker Evan McKelvey, who also had seven tackles and three quarterback hits.

Marshall will seek its seventh straight victory Saturday when it goes on the road to take on the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Bradley Heltzel can be contacted at [email protected]

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