Herd’s offense carries the torch
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — There was something wrong with this picture.
Marshall was supposed to have a solid defense and anemic offense. But in Saturday’s season opener against Division I-AA power Southern Illinois, it was the Herd offense that got tuned in while the defense gave mixed signals in a 31-28 win over the Salukis.
Quarterback Brian Anderson showed why he won the starting job from last year’s starter Mark Cann as he completed 27 of 36 passes for 316 yards and three touchdowns.
Meanwhile, the defense was a somewhat stingy for almost three quarters, then had to hold on as SIU mounted a late rally.
“We showed our jitters in the first half. We started executing in the second half. In the second half we showed what kind of offense we can have,” said Marshall coach Mark Snyder.
“We had a lot of good learning lessons. Defensively we have to get better. My biggest concern is to get the defense cranked back up.”
Anderson threw an interception in the first half before hooking up with Cody Slate on a 10-yard touchdown pass with 3:15 left in the second quarter as the Herd tied the game at 7-7.
But SIU quarterback Chris Dieker tossed his second scoring pass of the half with just 26 seconds left that gave the Salukis a 14-7 halftime lead.
The Herd stampeded out of the locker room in the second half. Anderson marched the team down the field and threw a 28-yard TD pass to Antavious Wilson to tie the game.
Sean McCellan forced a fumble on a Herd punt and Lee Smith recovered to set up an 11-yard scoring run by Terrell Edwards as Marshall went up 21-14 at the 10:07 mark of the third quarter.
With the help of Albert McClellan’s 18th career sack, the Herd forced an SIU punt and then marched 59 yards in five plays capped by a 15-yard TD pass to Slate that extended the lead to 28-14.
Slate also passed Sean Doctor as the Marshall all-time leader in receiving yards by a tight end.
“We came out a little sluggish the first half, but we got going in the second half,” said Anderson. ”We’ve got a lot of speed ot there. I’ve got to give it to my receiver and my line gave me a lot of time. A lot of times the receivers stretched out and made some diving catches.”
Southern Illinois, ranked seventh in the NCAA I-AA preseason poll, closed the gap thanks to short kickoffs that gave them the ball at the 40-yard line twice.
Dieker hit John Goode on a 4-yard strike to make it 28-21, then ran 5 yards with 1:40 left to cut the deficit to 31-28.
But the Herd recovered the onside kickoff and was able to run enough time off the clock to keep SIU from rallying.
So. Illinois 7 7 7 7 = 28
Marshall 0 7 21 3 = 31
SIU — Chris Dieker 1 run (Dougherty kick) 0:21
Ma — Cody Slate 10 pass from Brian Anderson (Craig Ratanamorn kick) 3:15
SIU — Marc Cheatham 2 pass from Chris Dieker (Dougherty kick) 0:26
Ma — Antavious Wilson 28 pass from Brian Anderson (Craig Ratanamorn kick) 13:23
Ma — Terrell Edwards 11 run (Craig Ratanamorn kick) 10:07
Ma — Cody Slate 15 pass from Brian Anderson (Craig Ratanamorn kick) 5:21
SIU — John Goode 4 pass from Chris Dieker (Dougherty kick) 1:54
Ma — Craig Rantanamorn 32 field goal 11:33
SIU — Chris Dieker 5 run (Dougherty kick) 1:40
First downs 20 23
Rushes-yards 28-105 36-72
Passing yards 206 316
Total yards 311 388
Cmp-Att-Int 22-37-1 27-36-1
Fumbles-lost 2-2 1-1
Penalties-yards 8-60 6-45
Punts-average 4-45.5 3-36.7
Time of Possession 24:52 35:08
RUSHING—Southern Illinois: Deji Karim 16-67, Chris Dieker 8-24, Steve Strother 2-8, Joe Allaria 1-3, Jeff Evans 1-3; Marshall: Terrell Edwards 15-28, Martin Ward 14-54, Courtney Edmondson 1-4, Cody Slate 2-0, Brian Anderson 4-minus 14.
PASSING—Southern Illinois: Chris Dieker 22-37-1 206; Marshall: Brian Anderson 27-36-1 316.
RECEIVING—Southern Illinois: Bryce Morris 6-69, Joe Allaria 4-38, Steve Strother 3-25, Marc Cheatham 2-20, Jeff Evans 2-20, Deji Karim 2-16, Ryan Kernes 1-12, John Goode 2-6; Marshall: Chuck Walker 10-119, Cody Slate 9-114, Antavious Wilson 3-44, Wayne Bonner 3-44, Jamal Wilson 1-8, Lee Smith 1-5.
MISSED FIELD GOALS: None.