Rasheen’s 2 TDs rally Herd by FCS Albany
Published 11:28 pm Saturday, September 2, 2023
By GRANT TRAYLOR
Marshall Associate A.D. of Communications
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. –Marshall Football earned the 600th win in program history on Saturday as the Thundering Herd opened the 2023 season with a 21-17 win over Albany in front of 25,101 fans at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
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Marshall junior running back Rasheen Ali finished with 137 yards and two touchdowns – both in the second half – while senior defensive end Owen Porter finished with a career-high 12 tackles and the game-clinching sack of Albany quarterback Reese Poffenbarger as the Thundering Herd held off a tough challenge from the Great Danes.
“Honestly, it was the best thing that could’ve happened tonight,” Marshall head coach Charles Huff said. “We’ve got a lot to get cleaned up and hats off to Albany. It’s a good football team and that quarterback is a good quarterback.”
On an exciting day in which Marshall unveiled its new videoboard and several players made their Marshall debut, it was two of the Herd’s veteran players who made sure the Thundering Herd faithful went home happy.
Albany drove inside Marshall territory looking for the game-winning score, but defensive end Sam Burton got through the line and sacked Poffenbarger for a loss of 11 to force a long fourth-down attempt.
Porter then came and capped the victory, working his way around the edge and corralling Poffenbarger as he tried to work out of the pocket.
While Porter was thrilled to get out with the win, he was especially thrilled for Burton, who finished with a career-high 2.5 sacks on Saturday.
“There’s nobody I’m prouder of with everything that kid goes through – how many times he’s had to sit out for injury,” Porter said. “We came in together, so it just means a little more there and I couldn’t be prouder of him. I said it last year – if he doesn’t get hurt, he leads the team in sacks and probably the conference in sacks.”
The defense stood tall on Saturday, keeping Albany without a third-down conversion in their final seven tries of the game, continuing success from last season when the Thundering Herd led the nation in opponent third-down conversion percentage.
While the defense took care of business, Ali showed that he was back to full health, bursting through the Albany defense and notching a pair of touchdown runs that gave Marshall the lead for good.
Ali scored on a 13-yard run to cap a drive that took just 1:09 for the Herd to find the end zone, which got the crowd into it.
After Burton got a sack to force a punt and continue the momentum, Marshall took advantage of the short field and Ali found a crease off the right side for a 30-yard score that put the Herd up for good.
“It was exciting,” Ali said. “I just knew once I slowed down and trusted the big guys up front that it would eventually pop.”
Quarterback Cam Fancher finished 28 of 35 through the air for 268 yards with a touchdown – a 19-yard connection to Chuck Montgomery for a score that got Marshall on the board in the third quarter.
Montgomery caught a career-high six receptions for 81 yards. Tight end Cade Conley also caught seven passes for 79 yards in his first contest with the Thundering Herd.
Marshall returns to action at 4 p.m. on Saturday when the team travels to Greenville, North Carolina to take on East Carolina at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in a nationally-televised broadcast on ESPNU.
ALBY–FG Opalko 46, :06.
ALBY–J.Parker 19 pass from Poffenbarger (Opalko kick), 9:35.
MRSH–C.Montgomery 19 pass from Fancher (Verhoff kick), 6:50.
ALBY–Poffenbarger 54 run (Opalko kick), 3:31.
MRSH–Ali 13 run (Verhoff kick), 2:22.
MRSH–Ali 30 run (Verhoff kick), 12:53.
|Total Net Yards||300||413|
|Time of Possession||35:09||24:51|
RUSHING–Albany (NY), Larkins 13-39, Poffenbarger 15-37, Aden 5-15, Woodell 2-13, Easton 1-2. Marshall, Ali 18-137, Fancher 5-16, (Team) 1-(minus 2), E.Payne 2-(minus 6).
PASSING–Albany (NY), Poffenbarger 22-38-0-194. Marshall, Fancher 28-35-1-268.
RECEIVING–Albany (NY), Easton 6-43, J.Parker 5-51, Burti 4-41, Aden 2-12, Woodell 2-9, Hicks 1-13, Moses 1-13, M.Dietz 1-12. Marshall, C.Conley 7-79, C.Montgomery 6-81, Harris 5-32, J.Harrison 3-31, Coombs 3-21, B.Robinson 2-16, Keaton 1-6, Ali 1-2.
MISSED FIELD GOALS–Albany (NY), Opalko 37. Marshall, Verhoff 37.