Eagles beat error-prone Herd

Published 11:49 pm Saturday, November 14, 2009

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall quarterback Brian Anderson threw for a career-high 337 yards, but it was not enough as Southern Miss used a late touchdown to grab a 27-20 win over the Thundering Herd in Conference USA football action Saturday evening at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

With the scored tied at 20-20, USM quarterback Martevious Young hit DeAndre Brown for a 36-yard touchdown with 6:54 remaining to put the Golden Eagles (6-4, 4-2 C-USA) back on top. Marshall (5-5, 3-3 C-USA) had a chance late. With Southern Miss facing a third-and-two from their own 10-yard line, the Herd defense forced a fumble, which was recovered by USM for a 5-yard loss.

On the ensuing punt, Marshall received the ball at the USM 32 with 1:03 left in the contest. After two incompletions, Brian Anderson was sacked, bringing up fourth down. On the play, Anderson was heavily pressured and his final pass attempt was intercepted, sealing the game for the Golden Eagles.

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Southern Miss took an early 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Tory Harrison finished off a 13-play, 80-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. The key play on that drive came on a fourth down play where Marshall was flagged for roughing the kicker on a punt attempt.

Less than a minute into the second quarter, Marshall got on the board as Craig Ratanamorn nailed a 27-yard field goal to make it a 7-3.

Later in the quarter, Marshall grabbed what would be its only lead of the game as Aaron Dobson hauled in a 29-yard pass from Anderson giving MU a 10-7 edge. As was the case in USM’s scoring drive, a 15-yard penalty came into play on Marshall’s scoring drive. On a fourth-and-21 play, USM committed a personal foul, giving MU the ball. The Herd would score two plays later.

The momentum of that drive was short-lived, however, as USM returner Tracy Lampley took the ensuing kickoff 93 yards to the end zone putting the Golden Eagles back on top, 14-10. Marshall would make it a one-point game at the half following a season-long 46-yard field goal by Ratanamorn.

In the third quarter, USM extended its lead to seven points, 20-13, thanks to a 39-yard touchdown reception by Damion Fletcher. The play was set up by a fumble by DeQuan Bembry on a USM punt. Following the fumble, the Golden Eagles scored on the first play of their drive.

Despite losing Cody Slate in the first half and Darius Marshall in the second, the Herd refused to give up, rallying to tie the game at 20-20 in the fourth quarter. MU utilized nine plays to march the ball 72 yards for the tying score as Terrell Edwards-Maye found the endzone from a yard out with ten minutes left in the game.

Southern Miss would score what would be the game-winning touchdown on its next drive.

Slate left the game with approximately five minutes to go in the first quarter after catching a six yard pass for a first down on just Marshall’s second possession of the game. Slate, a Mackey Award and All-America candidate, was helped off the field with an apparent knee injury and did not return. Darius Marshall appeared to injury his ankle early and then was forced from the game in the second half.

Brian Anderson put forth a stellar effort for the Herd, completing 29-of-52 passes for 337 yards and a touchdown. The 337 yards marked a career best, surpassing his previous mark of 316 set earlier this season against Southern Illinois. He was picked off twice – ending Marshall’s last two possessions.

Redshirt freshman Antavious Wilson was on the receiving end of 13 Anderson passes totaling 153 yards, both career bests for the MU receiver. Lee Smith caught six balls for 77 yards.

Golden Eagles quarterback Martevious Young threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Damion Fletcher and DeAndrew Brown were the leading pass catchers for USM, recording 63 and 58 yards, respectively. Each also hauled in a touchdown.

The Herd concludes its home slate of games with a senior day contest on Saturday Nov. 21 against Conference USA West division leader, SMU at 4:30 p.m. at the Joan C. Edwards Stadium.


Opening Statement…

“I’m still trying to recover and figure out what happened down there. We are very happy to come on the road and it is obviously our first road victory. It was a do-or-die situation and I am proud that we got the win. We made a lot of mistakes in every area but we feel very fortunate to come out of here with a win. I thought Marshall played well, well enough to win. We just made one more play than they did. Again, I am just happy to have the win.”

On making the plays to win the game…

“It was a wild one tonight. We have been preaching finish to them and we finished it tonight. Maybe it wasn’t the way you would like, but we did finish the game.”

On the winning touchdown pass to DeAndre Brown…

“Darrell Wayatt, offensive coordinator, made the call. He felt like we could get the post on them. It was third-and-long in that situation so he made the call. Martevious Young saw the post on his first read, put the ball up and we scored the touchdown. I don’t know the distance, but I know it was third-and-long.”

On special teams’ play…

“That was one of our keys for us this week. We wanted to make one game changing play in special teams and we did tonight. I believe Tracy Lampley set a school record in returns, with 211 yards. He is a true freshman and we’ve been saying all along that he is special. Not just as a kick returner, but as a football player. You have to give those other 10 guys credit. They were on their blocks; they blocked the people they were supposed to. I have to see it on film but you have to give those other guys credit too. Lampley has been fearless for us. He hasn’t been scared to take a hit when he has to; he gives us give field position and has been making good decisions. Hopefully he can continue to do that for the rest of the year.”

On the importance of this win…

“It was a one-game season for us. We had to get this win. Going into the game we said, ‘no matter what it takes we do it.’ That is basically what happened. As ugly as it was, it was whatever it took and we got it done. We didn’t make it look good. They are not going to put a “U” next to the “W” on our schedule. It’s just a “W,” at the end of the season that’s all anybody is going to see. We have a lot to work on this week, makes some corrections, figure some things out and get ready for the next one.”


Opening Statement…

“It was a hard fought football game. We played hard, we played well. I was proud of our offense and defense. It is no surprise that our special teams hurt us tonight, but it’s the first time that it has raised its head this year. I thought we have been pretty good on our special teams, but they cost us at least 14 points tonight. We had some stops and a score but then we gave up a kickoff return. That is unacceptable. We underestimated Tracy Lampley a little bit. He is a pretty good player. We thought about pooching away from him. In the eight games we have seen on the tape he has looked pretty good, but he looked really good tonight. We had a couple penalties to keep their drive alive. We had a roughing the kicker to put our defense back in harm’s way. Obviously we muffed a punt return which hurt us. There are a lot of positives for us tonight but it hurts on a lot of fronts, there is no question about that. The mood is good in the locker room. It’s almost surreal. We know we have a good football team. We have been through the buzz-saw of our league with ECU, then UCF and now Southern Miss. They are a good football team. We are just waiting for the mojo to turn. When they fumbled the ball from center, we had flashbacks from UCF. We were hoping to come up with the football but it didn’t happen. I credit Larry; that is a good football team- we just came up on the short end.”

On Marshall’s special teams…

“Our mistakes were costly. Their kickoff mistakes were letting us get out to the 40 or 50. They roughed our punter one time, gave us an automatic first down, but it wasn’t necessarily points. Our mistakes turned into points. I can think of 14 right off the top of my head. It is unfortunate because we have been good on special teams all year. I don’t think we use our weapons wisely. We do have some special weapons and I am not so sure we used them wisely.”

On the passing game…

“It was our game plan to come out and throw the ball. They have a good front; they are eight-and-nine deep like all the other good teams. They changed up their game plan a little bit from Houston, but we felt like our mismatch was our wide receivers against their DBs. We knew that’s where we had to make our hay. I thought for the most part we did that tonight. Antavious Wilson played well and Aaron Dobson is getting better every week. When you lose your best players in Darius Marshall and Cody Slate, it kind of hurts your offensive game plan. We did some of the same things with Lee Smith. I think he did a good job tonight, doing the same things we ask Cody to do. There are a lot of positives on a lot of fronts. I thought our defense played lights out again. We gave up the wheel-route. DeAndre Brown is a good player. He is 6’6’’. They got the matchup they wanted and completed it.”

On the play of Antavious Wilson…

“He had to step up. I thought he played extremely well. He made some extremely good catches. He started out a little bit slow but I thought he came out well. He and Brian Anderson have something going on that is going well. You can just feel. They have that back shoulder route down pat. If the DB is on top of Antavious, he throws it on the back shoulder. If Antavious has him beat, Brian is throwing the ball long right where it needs to be. Again, I have to credit Lee Smith. He did well stepping in for Cody.”

On the season as a whole…

“I think we are playing some good football right now. We are just coming up a little short. We have played some good teams. I told the kids down there tonight, ‘you guys are giving it everything you have to win the game.’ So it makes it a little rough on everyone. For me to sit there and say we are not doing this and that well, we are not getting better, we are getting worse – I can’t sit there and say that. I think this team is getting better every week. The competition has been going up every week too, so I really have no complaints right now. I am happy with my guys and I wouldn’t trade them because they are giving us everything they have. They have no quit in them. As you guys can see, we have some talent out there that is coming along.”

On the injuries of Cody Slate and Darius Marshall…

“At this point in time it does not look good for Cody. We will know more about Darius in a couple of days. I was standing there when Cody took a shot and the defender’s helmet hit him right on the knee.”