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Marshall escapes Memphis, 23-22

Marshall Thundering Herd defensive end Jeremiah Taylor (58) chases down Memphis quarterback Andy Summerlin (12) during Thursday’s C-USA game. Marshall rallied to win 23-22 to keep its bowl hopes alive. (The Ironton Tribune / Courtesy Joe Murphy of Memphis University Sports Information)

Staff Report


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Marshall scored 13 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull out a wild 23-22 win at Memphis on Thursday.

With the win, Marshall improved to 5-6 overall and 4-3 in Conference USA. Memphis fell to 2-9 overall and 1-6 in C-USA.

The Thundering Herd trailed 22-10 with 11:22 remaining in the game, but scored two quick touchdowns to take a one-point lead with 6:10 to play.

Sophomore running back Tron Martinez rushed for 96 yards on 22 carries including a 21-yard touchdown run to cut the Tiger lead to 22-17 early in the fourth quarter. Trailing by five points, freshman running back Travon Van broke free for a 19-yard touchdown run, which proved to be the game-winner in front of 15,101 at the Liberty Bowl.

Freshman quarterback Rakeem Cato was 13-for-23 for 150 yards and one touchdown. However, he was also credited with two interceptions and one fumble. Altogether, six turnovers plagued the Herd offense which was nearly too much to overcome.

Memphis’ defense scored 14 points on the night. After Marshall punter Kase Whitehead mishandled a snap, Kendrk Golden returned the fumble 36 yards in the second quarter. However, the point after attempt by Memphis was blocked by senior defensive lineman Vinny Curry. Cato provided the other fumble, which Frank Trotter returned 18 yards for the score early in the fourth quarter.

The Thundering Herd trailed most of the night including halftime as it faced a 13-10 deficit. Marshall received two scores in the first half. With just 1:17 played in the game, Antavious Wilson took a Cato pass and went 44 yards for the touchdown to give the Herd a 7-0 lead.

Senior Tyler Warner connected on a 20-yard field goal before the half, his only attempt of the night.

Wilson led the Herd receiving corps with 52 yards on just two receptions. Marshall outgained Memphis 293-277 in total yards.

Senior linebacker Tyson Gale led the team in tackles with 11, six solo. Freshman Monterius Lovett had seven tackles while Curry added six tackles and 0.5 sacks.

Marshall will next face East Carolina on Saturday, Nov. 26 at 3:30 p.m. A Marshall win would make the Herd bowl eligible for the first time since 2009. If Marshall wins and Southern Miss loses to Memphis, Marshall will win the C-USA East Division and earn a spot in the C-USA Championship game.