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Herd’s dazzle beats Flashes

The Associated Press

KENT – Chad Pennington threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score Saturday as No.

Saturday, November 06, 1999

KENT – Chad Pennington threw three touchdown passes and ran for a score Saturday as No. 13 Marshall extended the nation’s longest major-college winning streak to 13 with a 28-16 victory over Kent.

Pennington finished 19-of-25 for 209 yards as the Thundering Herd (9-0, 6-0 Mid-American Conference) stayed in contention for a major bowl berth by holding off the Golden Flashes (2-8, 2-5).

Kent, which came into the game as a 35-point underdog, got three field goals from Dave Pavich. With Kent trailing by eight points in the fourth quarter, coach Dean Pees elected to try a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the Marshall 1.

Pennington scored on a 1-yard plunge on Marshall’s next possession to end Kent’s upset bid.

Scouts from six NFL teams were on hand to see Pennington, and a scout from the Fiesta Bowl came to see if Marshall, which entered the day as one of just six undefeated Division I-A schools, might be worth inviting to a Jan. 2 bowl.

The Thundering Herd weren’t particularly impressive, but Pennington certainly lived up to his billing as one of college’s football’s premier quarterbacks. Four of his incompletions were drops.

After Kent pulled within 14-13 in the third quarter on Pavich’s 37-yarder, Pennington led Marshall on a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive. A pass interference call gave the Thundering Herd a first down at the 18, and one play later Pennington hit Nate Poole from 15 yards to make it 21-13.

Kent responded by converting twice on third down and once on fourth to get to the Marshall 1, but Pees decided to go for a 19-yard field goal when a TD could have brought the Golden Flashes closer.

Pennington made Kent pay, completing four passes in a 72-yard drive and going the final yard himself to put Marshall ahead 28-16.

Pennington completed 9-of-10 passes for 121 yards in the first quarter – the only incompletion was dropped – and threw TD passes on Marshall’s first two drive to give the Thundering Herd a 14-0 lead.

Pennington found David Foye over the middle for 38 yards on third down to keep a 15-play drive alive, and then hooked up with Lanier Washington for an 8-yard scoring pass to make it 14-0.

It looked like Kent might be overmatched, but the Golden Flashes came back and, after converting a fake punt, pulled within 14-7 on a 19-yard pass from Jose Davis to James Gamble with 9:36 left in the half.

Kent’s TD was the first allowed by Marshall in 11 quarters, and it wasn’t long before some of Kent’s fans began mocking the Thundering Herd with chants of ”Over-rated”.

The Golden Flashes were able to close to 14-10 at the half on Pavich’s 40-yard field goal with six seconds remaining.

Marshall’s first score came after Kent fumbled on its first possession as Pennington’s 14-yard pass was caught by James Williams, who made a nice adjustment on a poorly thrown ball.