Marshall miscues give UCF win

Published 12:17 am Sunday, November 16, 2008

In medical terms, it was a “Code Green.”

A combination of a lackluster passing game and errors in the punting game left Marshall’s chances of a postseason bowl game on its death bed.

Starting quarterback Mark Cann was just 4-of-17 for 32 yards and two crucial interceptions and the punting game handed Central Florida two touchdowns as the Golden Knights beat the Thundering Herd 30-14 Saturday night in a Conference USA East Division game.

Email newsletter signup

“Two weeks in a row we’ve been anemic on offense and have had a couple of busts in special teams,” said an exasperated Marshall coach Mark Snyder.

“We’ve brought a lot of (problems) on ourselves. It’s been self-inflicted. We’re not making plays when we need to make plays.”

Central Florida (3-7, 2-4) did make the plays. Safety Sha’eff Rashad picked off both Cann passes and he returned them deep into Marshall territory to set up a pair of field goals.

The Thundering Herd fell to 4-6 and 3-3 in C-USA. They must win at Rice next week and at home against league-favorite Tulsa in order to finish 6-6 and become bowl eligible.

Marshall punter Case Whitehead led a high snap on a punt go through his hands and into the end zone where UCF’s Jamar Newsome recovered the ball for a touchdown just four minutes into the game.

Central Florida drove for a 27-yard field goal by Nick Cattoi with 3:32 left in the first quarter and the lead was 10-0.

A 33-yard punt return by Joe Burnett to the Marshall 43 led to a 24-yard field goal by Cattoi and it was 13-0 with 8:29 left in the half.

The Knights made a mistake in the kicking game as they fumbled a punt and Lee Smith pounced on the ball for the Herd at the UCF 2-yard line. Chubb Small carried for one-yard on two straight plays and Marshall was on the scoreboard.

But Marshall returned the favor as Emmanuel Spann fumbled a punt and Reggie Weams recovered the Marshall one-yard line.

Brynn Smith lost a yard on first down, and then Rob Calabrese completed his only pass of the first half, a 2-yard scoring toss to John Lubisher.

Central Florida had just two yards passing the first half and Cann threw for only 14 yards as neither team generated much of a passing game the entire game. Marshall finished with 84 yards passing and the Knights 29.

Things got so bad in the first half, Snyder brought in fourth team quarterback Wes Beardain, the most mobile of the Herd quarterbacks.

“I was just trying to get a spark,” said Snyder. “There was really nothing to it, just trying to see if we could get a spark.”

The spark never came and Snyder went to backup quarterback Brian Anderson late in the game after Cann threw a second interception that led to a 24-yard field goal and put UCF up 23-14.

Central Florida coach George O’Leary experienced a similar game against Marshall, but the Knights managed to get the win due to the turnovers.

“I thought (the defense) was very solid like they have been all year. They’ve been stingy on giving plays up,” said O’Leary.

“They weren’t even on the field for the first touchdown, but defensively they played well enough to win seven games if we could contribute offensively.”

The only offense for either team came from the running game.

Marshall running back Darius Marshall carried 16 times for 142 yards as the Herd had just 29 rushing plays.

“(Mashall) played well again today. Offensively, he’s a bright spot for us in the last couple weeks and also on special ateam with his kick return ability,” said Snyder.

Smith led UCF with 150 yards on 33 carries including a 50-yard touchdown run with 2:40 to play after Marshall failed to convert on fourth down in its final chance to rally for a win.

The Herd drew within 20-14 with 9:50 left in the third quarter when Cann hit tight end Cody Slate with a 15-yard pass for a touchdown.

Cent. Florida 10 10 3 7 = 30

Marshall 0 7 7 0 = 14

First Quarter

UCF – Jamar Newsome fumble recovery in end zone (Nick Cattoi kick) 11:07

UCF – Nick Cattoi 27 field goal 3:32

Second Quarter

UCF – Nick Cattoi 24 field goal 8:29

Mar – Chubb Small 1 run (Craig Ratanamorn kick) 5:59

UCF – John Lubisher 2 pass from Rob Calabrese (Nick Cattoi kick) 4:16

Third Quarter

Mar – Cody Slate 15 pass from Mark Cann (Craig Ratanamorn kick) 9:50

UCF – Nick Cattoi 24 field goal 3:02

Fourth Quarter

Brynn Harvey 50 run (Nick Cattoi kick) 2:40



First downs 17 8

Rushes-yards 65-213 29-145

Passing yards 29 84

Total yards 242 229

Cmp-Att-Int 4-17-0 7-29-2

Fumbles-lost 4-1 3-2

Penalties-yards 8-46 8-65

Punts-average 7-41.9 7-39.6

Sacks by-yards 1-7 1-16

Time of Possession 38:10 21:50


Individual Leaders

RUSHING-Central Florida: Brynn Harvey 33-150, Latavius Murray 15-46, Blake Clingan 2-21, Kyhmest Williams 1-7, Rob Calabrese 11-minus 5. Marshall: Darius Marshall 16-142,Chubb Small 8-16, Mark Cann 2-9, Wes Beardain 1-minus 1, Brian Anderson 1-minus 4, team 1-minus 17.

PASSING–Central Florida: Rob Calabrese 4-17-0 29. Marshall: Mark Cann 4-17-2 29, Brian Anderson 3-12-0 52.

RECEIVING–Central Florida: Kyhmest Williams 2-12, Brian Walter 1-15, John Lubischer 1-2. Marshall: Chubb Small 1-18,Cody Slate 2-46, Bryan Milligan 2-12, Darius Passmore 1-5,Emmanuel Spann 1-3.