Marshall beats SMU in overtime

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 3, 2005

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - In a game when he threw for 314 yards on 34-of-60 passing, quarterback Bernie Morris took to the ground to score two late touchdowns – including the game winner in overtime – to lead Marshall over SMU 16-13 on Saturday.

Marshall was held scoreless through three quarters before charging back to tie the game at 10 late in the fourth quarter.

"These kids have not quit all year," Marshall coach Mark Snyder said. "These kids believe in themselves. We made more plays than they did and we didn't turn the ball over and that was the key."

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Kicker Chris McMurtray's line-drive 40-yard field goal gave SMU the overtime lead, but Morris responded with a 15-yard scramble to win the game for Marshall (2-2, 1-1 Conference USA).

SMU (1-4, 0-2) had only seven first downs in the game, but led 10-0 midway through the fourth quarter. That's when a 15-play Marshall drive led to the Thundering Herd's first score: a 24-yard field goal by Ian O'Connor, who had missed two earlier attempts of 26 and 43 yards.

The 69-yard drive was almost for naught when Morris appeared to fumble the ball on SMU's 7-yard line. But the referees ruled that the ball had come loose in a passing attempt, whistling the ball dead.

SMU could not advance the ball on the next possession, and Morris again led Marshall down the field, culminating in a 4-yard touchdown run to tie the game with 1:30 remaining.

Unlike last week when Marshall was plagued by turnovers in a loss to Central Florida, the Herd fumbled four times but recovered all four. The only turnover was an interception on a desperation pass at the end of the first half.

"If you turn the ball over, no matter how careful you are, you're going to lose. If you don't turn it over, you win. We didn't turn it over and we won," Snyder said.

Jerad Romo was 10-of-22 for 151 yards passing for the Mustangs, with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Reynaldo Pellerin in the second quarter. SMU's second quarterback Tony Eckert was injured in the first half and did not return.

Morris led Marshall with 63 yards rushing on 15 carries.

"There was a lot of learning for Bernie today," Snyder said. "He played well at times and he didn't play well at times, but he made the plays when he had


The Thundering Herd defense held SMU to just 191 total yards.

"The defense did a fantastic job," Snyder said. "I'm so proud of the defense and the fan support. (SMU's) offense is hard to stop and they had to tone it down because of the crowd noise. They didn't try to change a play until the fourth quarter."

Marshall travels to No. 3 Virginia Tech next Saturday for a 1 p.m. game.