Sept. 5, 2009
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Marshall University opened the 2009 football season with a 31-28 victory against Southern Illinois in front of 24,012 fans at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
Senior tight end Cody Slate recorded nine receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns. His second touchdown, a 15-yard reception, gave Slate the all-time receiving record for tight ends in Marshall football history. Slate now has 2,126 yards for his career. He surpassed Sean Doctor’s record of 2,100 yards, which he amassed from 1987-88.
Junior quarterback Brian Anderson passed for a career-high 316 yards on 27-of-36 attempts. He also tied a career-high with three touchdowns, which he tallied against Tulsa on Nov. 29, 2008.
In his first career game at MU, Chuck Walker set game-highs in receptions (10) and yards (119), including a 31-yard snag in the first quarter.
During the first quarter, MU committed a pair of turnovers and trailed SIU, 7-0. Anderson, who fired a 31-yard completion to Walker earlier in the team’s first drive, had a pass intercepted at the SIU 34-yard line.
The first turnover did not prove to be costly, as MU forced a Salukis’ miscue with 7:23 left in the first quarter. Pressure from defensive end Albert McClellan on SIU quarterback Chris Dieker caused a wobbly pass to be picked off by cornerback Ashton Hall.
On the ensuing Herd possession, SIU forced a fumble to regain control of the ball at the MU 31-yard line. The Salukis would use a six-play drive, capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Dieker with 20 seconds left in the opening quarter to own a touchdown advantage.
With 5:23 remaining in the half, long snapper Sean McClellan caused by fumble on a Salukis punt return, which was recovered by Lee Smith, giving the Herd a short field at the SIU 22. Cody Slate pulled in a 10-yard slant from Anderson for the score, knotting the game at 7-all.
On the ensuing drive, SIU put together a 10-play, 60-yard effort which culminated in a 2-yard touchdown pass from Dieker to Marc Cheatham to put the Salukis up by seven at the half.
The Herd came out in the second half firing on all cylinders, taking the opening drive 68 yards on six plays, ending with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Anderson to Antavious Wilson to tie the score.
After MU forced the second SIU fumble of the afternoon, Terrell Edwards-Maye rushed for an 11-yard score, to give the Herd its first lead of the game, 21-14.
On the next SIU possession, the MU defensive made the Salukis offense go three-and-out, including a sack by Albert McClellan, the 18th of his career.
MU followed up with a five-play 59-yard drive to hold a 14-point advantage, 28-14. Slate hauled in his second touchdown reception, a 15-yard pass from Anderson. On the reception, Slate surpassed Sean Doctor as the all-time leader in receiving yards for a tight end in Marshall history.
The Salukis answered right back with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Dieker to John Goode. The drive lasted eight plays and covered 66 yards and put SIU within a touchdown, 1:54 remaining in the third quarter.
MU received a 32-yard field goal from Craig Ratanamorn with 11:33 left to give the Herd a 10-point cushion, 31-21. The drive lasted 10 plays and covered 46 yards. The Herd faced a fourth down and four yards to go, but a key SIU illegal substitution took place, allowing the drive to continue.
Late in the fourth quarter, Herd running back Edwards-Maye was stuffed on a fourth-and-one rush at the SIU 8-yard line. The Salukis turned around and went on a 12-play 91-yard drive, with Dieker rushing in from five yards out to pull within three points, 31-28, with 1:40 left in the contest.
Following a Marshall three-and-out, SIU received the ball back with 26 seconds remaining, but the MU defense was able to deflect a desperation pass as time expired to give the Herd the 31-28 victory.
The Herd is back on the field next week with a trip to Blacksburg, Va., to take on the No. 7 Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday, Sept. 12 at 1:30 p.m. The game can be watched on ESPN360.com. Marshall will be back home at Joan C. Edwards Stadium in two weeks, playing host to former Mid-American Conference rival Bowling Green.