Sept. 1, 2007
MIAMI - The Marshall University football team dropped a 31-3 decision to the Miami Hurricanes in its season opener Saturday in the Orange Bowl.
Miami jumped ahead to an early 10-0 lead in the first quarter and extended that lead to 17-0 by halftime. The Hurricanes were led by the running of tailback Javarris James, who carried 12 times for 136 yards. As a team, Miami totaled 260 rushing yards on 40 carries.
Senior quarterback Bernard Morris led Marshall on both the ground and in the air, totaling 29 net yards rushing and 162 yards passing on 16 of 32 attempts.
The Hurricanes opened the game on offense after a Ryan Hill kick return to the 34 yard-line and proceeded on an eight play 48-yard drive behind the running of James. The Marshall defense stiffened forcing Miami to settle for a Fransesco Zampogna field goal.
The Herd started its opening drive at its own 10, but QB Bernard led the offense to the Miami forty-eight. Three straight pre-snap penalties set Marshall up with first and 15 and on third down Morris' pass deflected off of running back Chubb Small and was intercepted by Tavares Gooden, who returned the ball to the Marshall 1-yard line.
With only one yard to go for the touchdown, Miami made quick work of their next possession as quarterback Kirby Freeman connected with tight end Dajleon Farr for the touchdown.
On its next possession, Marshall once again marched into Hurricane territory. Morris connected with junior Darrius Passmore on a 44-yard diving reception to move the Herd to the Miami 15. However, Morris was stopped on a fourth down attempt at the eight-yard line.
After a missed Zampogna field goal on Miami's following possession, the two teams traded punts on the next four drives.
The Hurricanes stretched their lead to 17 points after defensive end Calais Campbell intercepted a Marshall screen pass at the Herd 24. Miami punched the ball in on three plays punctuated by a five-yard touchdown run by James.
The third quarter started slowly before James broke the game open with a 56-yard run that highlighted a four-play, 70-yard drive. James got into the endzone on an eight-yard scamper to the Hurricanes ahead 24-0.
Marshall refused to go away. After Morris threw an interception on Marshall's ensuing drive, linebacker Maurice Kitchens intercepted Freeman on the next play to regain possession for the Herd.
Kitchens' interception set up a Marshall scoring dive which ended with a 37-yard field goal by kicker Anthony Binswanger.
Miami tacked on a late touchdown, scoring on a recovered fumble in the Marshall end zone.
Marshall vs. Miami Notes
Florida City, Fla. native Darius Passmore celebrated his homecoming in style, opening his Marshall career with a diving 44 yard reception.
Junior linebacker Maurice Kitchens recorded the first interception of his career, picking off Miami quarterback Kirby Freeman in third quarter.
Marshall surrendered a total of six sacks to the Miami defense.
The Herd played ten freshmen against Miami.
Marshall was flagged for 12 penalties totaling 67 yards
Marshall's first points of the 2007 season came in the fourth quarter as kicker Anthony Binswanger connected from 37-yard field goal by No. 41 Anthony Binswanger
Marshall returns to Huntington, W.Va. next weekend for its home opener against nationally-ranked West Virginia.