Costly turnovers cost Herd win over K-State

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 14, 2005

MU sports information

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Maybe it was too much excitement.

With a record crowd watching the Marshall Thundering Herd go down to the finals seconds against the Kansas State Wildcats, there was more than enough excitement to last an entire season.

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That may have been the one thing that ended up hurting Marshall's chances of an upset win.

Quarterback Jimmy Skinner threw an interception with eight seconds left and Marshall in range for a game-winning field goal, thus ending the Herd's hopes of upsetting K-State for the second time in three seasons.

"There was a lot of pandemonium on the sideline and Jimmy had some confusion on the play," Herd coach Mark Snyder said. "It's a rookie head coach mistake. If I ever do it again, I will call a time out and kick it on third down."

Marshall fumbled the ball for the third time in the game when running back Ahmad Bradshaw dropped it while he was upended at the K-State 2-yard line.

Marshall got a second chance at a late chance to pull out a victory after Chris Terrell forced a Jermaine Moreira fumble at the Marshall 24-yard line.

Skinner connected on a 20-yard pass with Hiram Moore and later a 32-yard pass to Wilbur Hargrove that moved the Herd to the K-State 21-yard line with nine seconds to play.

But Skinner's pass was tipped and intercepted by Justin McKinney at the K-State 12-yard line.

"I'm extremely proud of my players and I'd like to thank the fans of Marshall University for showing up today," Marshall head coach Mark Snyder said. "It's a shame we lost and a tough pill to swallow, but I thought we played well enough to win.

"I'm so proud of our fans for showing up. If they keep it up, we have a chance to be a good football team."

A Joan C. Edwards Stadium record crowd of 36,914 watched the first Big 12 Conference member to visit Huntington. It was also the first visit to the state of West Virginia for Kansas State (2-0) since 1931. The loss marked only the second time in school history that the Herd (1-1) lost a home game with an attendance of 30,000 or more.

After taking a quick 10-0 first quarter lead, Marshall was unable to keep the momentum due to five costly turnovers.

Kansas State running back Thomas Clayton posted his second 100-plus-yard rushing performance with 152 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown.

Skinner, who came on in the second quarter when starter Bernie Morris was injured, finished the game with 189 yards on 15-of-25 passing with a pair of interceptions.

"We didn't miss a beat with Jimmy coming in the game," Snyder said. "When you have two quarterbacks to play, you must be a pretty good football team."

Bradshaw led the Herd with 58 rushing yards and two touchdowns, finishing the day with 91 total yards offensively. Hiram Moore finished with a game-high 85 yards on seven catches, while Marcus Fitzgerald chipped in 49 yards on three catches.

The Herd began the opening drive with five straight running plays, which included a 15-yard burst from Bradshaw.

Morris, who was making his first career start, connected with Moore for a 20-yard gain to the K-State 30-yard line.

Marshall, however, had to settle for a 44-yard field goal from Ian O'Connor and a 3-0 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, Brandon Souder forced a Yamon Figurs' fumble which was recovered by Geremy Rodamer at the K-State 11-yard line.

Two plays later, Bradshaw found pay-dirt on a 6-yard touchdown run ato extend the Herd's lead to 10-0.

From there, Marshall's defense couldn't find an answer for K-State's explosive offense. On Kansas State's first possession, the Wildcats needed just 58 yards in 2:56 to get on the board. Clayton's 38-yard touchdown run up the middle cut the Herd lead to 10-7.

After Marshall's offense faltered on its next drive, K-State took its first lead of the game as Allen Webb connected on a 23-yard pass with Jordy Nelson to give the WIldcats a 14-10 lead with 17 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

As Kansas State had fumbled on a kickoff return in the first quarter, Marshall did the same in the second quarter. Surrell Davis forced a Chris Hawkins fumble at the K-State 45-yard line with three seconds remaining in the first quarter.

K-State scored on its third consecutive drive after Webb threw his second touchdown pass of the day – this time, a 26-yard screen pass to Clayton, extending the K-State lead to 21-10 with 11:16 left in the first half.

Marshall finally forced a K-State turnover on defense. Rodamer intercepted an errant Webb pass and returned it 45 yards to the K-State five-yard line. The Herd was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, settling for an O'Connor 21-yard field goal.

Kansas State14700=21


First Quarter

Ma – Ian O'Connor 44 field goal 9:42

Ma – Ahmad Bradshaw 6 run (Ian O'Connor kick) 8:51

KS – Thomas Clayton 38 run (Snodgrass kick) 5:46

KS – Jordy Nelson 23 pass from Allen Webb (Snodgrass kick)

Second Quarter

KS – Clayton 26 pass from Webb (Snodgrass kick) 11:16

Ma – Ian O'Connor 21 field gaol 5:13

Fourth Quarter

Ma – Bradshaw 1 run (pass fail) 14:12