Snyder gives Thundering Herd look of a winner in debut
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Looks are deceiving.
Although it looked bad, it was a beautiful sight for Marshall fans as the Mark Snyder era began with a 36-24 win over the William & Mary Tribe Thursday night.
"Well, we won. That's about it. We won. It was an ugly win," Snyder said. "It looked a lot like I thought it might. I hoped it wouldn't, but we have a lot of work to do. We had more mistakes than (just) here and there. We have to correct that in a hurry."
The win was the first for Snyder as a head coach in the college ranks. Although far from satisfied, the former Ohio State Buckeyes defensive coordinator was happy to win his first game.
"(The win) was great. Right now as a football coach, I feel like I just played my first football game and got out alive," Snyder said. "Hopefully tonight or tomorrow I'll be able to sit back and enjoy it a little bit.
Marshall used some big plays to erase a third quarter deficit and rally for the win.
The Herd squandered a 23-10 halftime lead as the Tribe got a pair of touchdown passes from Mike Potts to lead 24-23.
But middle linebacker Matt Couch picked up a Potts' fumble and returned it 70 yards for a touchdown with 1:08 left in the quarter to put the Herd back on top at 29-24.
"I give all the credit to my front four. They got the pressure on (Potts) and made the play. I was in the right place at the right time. I just scooped and scored," Couch said.
Quarterback Bernie Morris threw a 12-yard scoring pass to Hiram Moore with 9:46 to play that iced the win.
Morris, who shared the quarterback duties with Jimmy Skinner, completed 15 of 23 passes for 215 yards and three touchdowns.
"We wanted to make sure (Morris) got some reps and he was performing so we kept him in," Snyder said.
Skinner started at quarterback for the Herd and completed a 66-yard pass to wide receiver Wilbur Hargrove on the first play of the game that led to a 28-yard field goal by Ian O'Connor to stake Marshall to a 3-0 lead.
Skinner was 11 of 17 for 98 yards.
"I felt comfortable out there. I wasn't even nervous. I was confident in the coaches' game plan," Skinner said. "We had a couple of drives we didn't take advantage of."
Hargrove caught seven passes for 125 yards.
"We had been talking about it the last two weeks, so when they called my number I made the play," Hargove said.
One of Morris' touchdown passes was a swing pass to running back Ahmad Bradshaw who went 52 yards for a touchdown that put the Herd up 17-10 in the second quarter.
"They just wanted to get me in the open field and that's what they did. I got a lot of good blocks downfield from Hiran (Moore) and Wilbur (Hargrove) that sprung me,"
also ran 15 times for 72 yards.
"We came out strong and ready to play. The offensive line made a lot of blocks that allowed me to make some plays," Bradshaw said.
Bradshaw had a 5-yard scoring run that gave Marshall a 10-3 lead in the first quarter.
An interception by Kevin Allen gave William & Mary the ball at the Marshall 27. Potts ran right on a first-and-goal at the 4 only to fumble after a hit by Herd safety Chris Royal. Matt Ottey fell on the ball in the end zone as the Tribe tied the game.
Marshall then took the lead on the swing pass from Morris to Bradshaw. Morris threw a 25-yard TD pass to Shawn Lauzon with 5:38 left in the half but O'Connor missed the extra point and it was 23-10.
"We looked like it was our first game. But kids worked hard all year and they deserved to win," Snyder said.
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