Kansas State Survives Scare from Marshall, 21-19


Tight end Matt Morris is stripped of the ball at the Kansas State 2-yard line Saturday during Marshall's 21-19 loss to the Wildcats.

Tight end Matt Morris is stripped of the ball at the Kansas State 2-yard line Saturday during Marshall's 21-19 loss to the Wildcats.

Sept. 10, 2005

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HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -

After taking a quick 10-0 first quarter lead, Marshall was unable to repeat its upset of Kansas State from 2003, as the Thundering Herd committed five turnovers in a 21-19 loss to the Wildcats here Saturday afternoon at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

A Joan C. Edwards Stadium record crowd of 36,914 was in attendance to watch the first Big 12 Conference member to visit Huntington. It was also the first visit to the state of West Virginia for Kansas State (2-0) since 1931. The loss marked only the second time in school history that the Herd (1-1) lost a home game with an attendance of 30,000 or more.

"I'm extremely proud of my players and I'd like to thank the fans of Marshall University for showing up today," Marshall head coach Mark Snyder said. "It's a shame we lost and a tough pill to swallow, but I thought we played well enough to win.

"I'm so proud of our fans for showing up. If they keep it up, we have a chance to be a good football team."

Kansas State running back Thomas Clayton posted his second 100-plus-yard rushing performance in as many games leading all rushers with 152 yards on 26 carries and a touchdown.

Marshall's Jimmy Skinner (Chillicothe, Ohio) finished the game with 189 yards on 15-of-25 passing with a pair of interceptions.

Ahmad Bradshaw (Bluefield, Va.) led the Herd with 58 rushing yards and two touchdowns, finishing the day with 91 total yards offensively. Hiram Moore (Huntington, W.Va.) finished with a game-high 85 yards on seven catches, while Marcus Fitzgerald (Minneapolis, Minn.) chipped in 49 yards on three catches.

 

 

Despite turning the ball over five times, Marshall had a chance to win with nine seconds left in the game with the ball on the K-State 21-yard line, but Skinner threw an interception ending the Herd's chances.

"There was a lot of pandemonium on the sideline and Jimmy had some confusion on the play," Snyder added. "It's a rookie head coach mistake.

"If I ever do it again, I will call a time out and kick it on third down."

The Herd began the opening drive with five straight running plays, which included a 15-yard burst from Bradshaw.

Bernie Morris (Orlando, Fla.), who was making his first career start, completed his first of the contest, connecting with Moore for a 20-yard gain to the K-State 30-yard line.

Marshall, however, had to settle for a 44-yard field goal from Ian O'Connor (Knoxville, Tenn.), giving the Herd a 3-0 lead.

On the ensuing kickoff, Brandon Souder (Carson, Calif.) forced a Yamon Figurs fumble which was recovered by Geremy Rodamer (Morgantown, W.Va.) at the K-State 11-yard line.

Two plays later, Bradshaw found pay-dirt on a six-yard touchdown run over left tackle, extending the Herd's lead to double digits, 10-0.

From there, Marshall's defense couldn't find an answer for K-State's explosive offense. On Kansas State's first possession, the Wildcats needed just 58 yards in 2:56 to get on the board. Clayton's 38-yard touchdown run up the middle cut the Herd lead to 10-7.

After Marshall's offense faltered on its next drive, K-State took its first lead of the game as Allen Webb connected on a 23-yard pass with Jordy Nelson to give the `Cats a 14-10 lead with 17 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

As Kansas State had fumbled on a kickoff return in the first quarter, Marshall did the same in the second quarter. Surrell Davis forced a Chris Hawkins (Kinston, N.C.) fumble at the K-State 45-yard line with three seconds remaining in the first quarter.

K-State scored on its third consecutive drive after Webb threw his second touchdown pass of the day - this time, a 26-yard screen pass to Clayton, extending the K-State lead to 21-10 with 11:16 left in the first half.

Marshall finally forced a K-State turnover on defense. Rodamer intercepted an errant Webb pass and returned it 45 yards to the K-State five-yard line. The Herd was unable to capitalize on the opportunity, settling for an O'Connor 21-yard field goal.

Late in the second quarter, K-State defensive back Marcus Watts delivered a punishing blow to Morris as he delivered an incomplete pass to Wilbur Hargrove (Boyton, Va.). Morris left the game with an injury to his left shoulder and did not return. Morris finished the game with 73 yards on 7-of-12 passing.

"We didn't miss a beat with Jimmy coming in the game," Snyder continued. "When you have two quarterbacks to play, you must be a pretty good football team."

Marshall had an opportunity to score on its first drive of the second half, but O'Connor's 47-yard field goal attempt at the 9:10 mark of the third quarter was blocked by Alphonso Moran and Tearrius George. It was the first blocked field goal since Nov. 19, 2003, at Central Florida (Ron Ellis).

Bradshaw scored his second touchdown of the day on a one-yard run with 14:12 remaining in regulation, trimming the K-State lead to two points, 21-19. Marshall went for two, but the attempt was unsuccessful.

Marshall fumbled the ball for the third time in the game when Bradshaw dropped it while he was upended at the K-State two-yard line.

Marshall got a second chance at a late chance to pull out a victory after Chris Terrell (Coverington, Wash.) forced a Jermaine Moreira fumble at the Marshall 24-yard line.

Skinner connected on a 20-yard pass with Moore and later a 32-yard pass to Hargrove, moving the Herd to the K-State 21-yard line with nine seconds remaining in the fourth quarter.

But, as was the theme all day for the Herd, Marshall made a costly mistake as Skinner's pass was tipped and intercepted by Justin McKinney at the K-State 12-yard line, ending Marshall's bid to upset K-State for a second time in three seasons.